Israel upset Cuba 4-1 at the 2017 World Baseball Classic on Saturday at the Tokyo Dome. Israel just continued to roll with good pitching and timely hitting, just how they did in Seoul going 3-0 in Pool A to make it to Round 2.
Cuba 1, Israel 4
Cuba jumped out on top in the 2nd inning on an Alfredo Despaigne home run, it was his second of the WBC. But that was all Cuba could muster against the Israel staff managing just 5 hits.
Jason Marquis pitched well for Israel getting the start. He went 5.2 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits. His experience has really helped Israel in this WBC, and despite not having pitched in a few years his stuff has been good. The Israel bullpen gave up just 1 hit the last 3.1 innings.
Many on Twitter seem to have the take that this was the biggest upset in the history of the WBC. I disagree and feel this just takes away from some of their careers. The top 4 hitters in the Israel lineup have big league experience. Not to mention the starting pitcher was a big leaguer for more than a decade. Sure there is a good bit of young players in the low minors, but even that I feel is more than China had when it defeated Chinese Taipei. To me that is the biggest upset so far in the history of the tournament.
With the win, Israel sets itself up nicely for a possible run into the semifinals. It will take a win against the no. 1 world ranked Japan and/or a second win against the Netherlands. Either way, this pool is still wide open.
Ryan Lavarnway doubled, drove in a run, and played some great defense behind the plate.
Blake Gailen had a big RBI double and a successful squeeze bunt in the 8th to extend the lead to 3.
Out of the bullpen, Zack Thornton picked up the win pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.
Picking up the save was Josh Zeid who tossed 1.1 innings of ball coming into the 8th to stop a rally Cuba had going.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.