The Detroit Tigers were representing their homelands in Wednesday night’s World Baseball Classic game. And, Jim Leyland‘s USA team overcame Omar Vizquel‘s Venezuela team 4-2.
If you haven’t been watching the Venezuelan team in the WBC, Vizquel has continued the lineup that Brad Ausmus and Jim Leyland both used. Cabrera bats third and Martinez bats clean up. Unfortunately, this combination did more harm than good in the team’s first game in the second round at Petco Park in San Diego, California.
In the first inning, Jose Altuve hit a nearly perfect first-pitch bunt up the first baseline. He scurried his way to the base. It seemed that that moment would define the entire game – until the next batter, Martin Prado, hit a fly out to right field.
Then, Miguel Cabrera grounded into a double play hitting right to teammate Ian Kinsler who made the out at second and the throw to Eric Hosmer at first base. The energy that Altuve created was quickly and pathetically sucked away.
Keep in mind, that former Detroit Tigers pitcher Drew Smyly was on the mound. There were all sorts of feels going on for Tigers fans. Announcer John Smoltz made several comments about the Tigers throughout the game.
As Miguel Cabrera goes, so goes the rest of the team. Therefore, the game never really turned around for Venezuela. Other than the outstanding pitching from King Felix Hernandez, the only highlight of the game was the home run from Rougned Odor that scored Carlos Gonzalez.
It seemed like Miggy and V-mart were in tandem throughout the night. If one struck out, so did the other. If Miggy lined out, so did Vmart. Even the end of the game was a complete disappointment from the dynamic duo from Detroit. Cabrera earned a one-out walk in the 9th inning. Then, in the most anticlimactic ending possible, Martinez grounded into a double play.
It felt like a sad reply of 2016 in one little inning.
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Fortunately, one current Tiger did show up to play – sort of. Ian Kinsler managed to bat .400 in the game with two hits. He did not score any runs or RBIs, but he did make his presence known. In the third inning, he hit a two-out single to get runners in scoring position, but Adam Jones was unable to plate them. He also hit a sharp line drive for a one-out single in the sixth. But, when he had the opportunity to come up big with bases loaded in the eighth, he struck out swinging. This was the second time in the WBC that Kinsler was the last out for team USA. He struck out swinging in the game against the Dominican Republic in Miami.
But, when he had the opportunity to come up big with bases loaded in the eighth, he struck out swinging. This was the second time in the WBC that Kinsler was the last out for team USA. He struck out swinging in the game against the Dominican Republic in Miami.
As a Tigers fan, I was hoping for more from Cabrera and Martinez. Fortunately, the Venezuelan team has at least one more game against the powerhouse Dominican Republic team. Team USA plays Puerto Rico next. Hopefully, the rest of the second-round games in Pool F will offer more excitement, especially considering the All-Star players that dominate these squads.