USA advances to WBC Round 2, opponent to be decided
With a potential berth into the second round firmly its own hands, Team USA put together its best performance of the World Baseball Classic.
Paced by three-RBI performances from Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies) and Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants) along with a dominant start from Danny Duffy (Kansas City Royals), USA ran away from team Canada early on its way to a 8-0 drubbing Sunday.
Now 2-1, the Americans advance to the second round of the tournament as the No. 2 seed out of Pool C — finishing behind the Dominican Republic, against whom they blew a 5-0 lead on Saturday. Up next will be a Round 2 battle with the second seed from Pool D. Mexico and Italy play Monday to determine who will advance after Mexico eliminated Venezuela Sunday night 11-9.
Christian Yelich (Miami Marlins) and Brandon Crawford (Giants) contributed two hits apiece, continuing to lead the way for the red, white and blue. Yelich (2-for-5 with two runs scores) pushed his average to a team leading .500 while Crawford (2-for-4) extended his to .455.
The run production, though, came from Posey and Arenado along with Eric Hosmer (Royals), who posted two hits and two RBIs, both of which coming on a first-inning double.
The 2-0 jump was enough for Duffy, who was dominant for 4 innings, allowing two hits while fanning seven.
Duffy was followed out of the bullpen by Mychal Givens (Baltimore Orioles), Tyler Clippard (New York Yankees), Jake McGee (Rockies) and Nate Jones (Chicago White Sox) who combined for 5 innings of two-hit relief while striking out eight.
The bullpen has been a weakness for the Americans thus far having allowed nine runs, including two from Givens in his first outing, in 12-2/3 frames (6.39 ERA). A deep run from the U.S. will require improvements from that group.
The second round, like the first, is a double-elimination round-robin competition, which will likely give USA a second crack at the Dominicans. First, though, they will face off with the winner of the Mexico-Italy matchup Monday night.