Team Puerto Rico absolutely destroyed the star-packed Team USA with a score of 11-1 Saturday evening in Miami.
The game actually ended as a result of the Mercy Rule, which I personally found a bit amusing. The Mercy Rule occurs when a game ends early when one team has a very large and presumably insurmountable lead over the other team. In the case of the WBC, the rule is 10 runs.
The winning-and-mercy-rule-inducing runs came off the bat of Mike Aviles, who smacked a two-run single into shallow right field making the score 11-1, extending Team Puerto Rico's undefeated streak in the World Baseball Classic.
Jake Peavy, from the San Diego Padres, was rocked in his short two-inning stint, leading him to an ugly 14.40 ERA so far in the Classic. Team Puerto Rico had six hits, six runs, two walks, and a home run off of the two-time All-Star Peavy.
In stark contrast, Javier Vazquez from the Atlanta Braves was solid, taking down a team of major leaguers and lasting a good five innings
So far, he has posted an impressive 0.96 ERA in the Classic.
Every Team Puerto Rico player was on fire yesterday. Each batter either scored a run or drove in a run. Puerto Rico achieved 13 hits and four walks without breaking a sweat.
Offensively, Carlos Delgado drove in two runs; Felipe Lopez rocked a two-run home run and an RBI double; and Ramon Vazquez scored twice.
Carlos Beltran once again shined going 3-for-3, including a monster home run in the seventh inning off of reliever Thorton.
Pudge Rodriguez was also great offensively, going 3-for-4 with an RBI to his credit.
For Team USA, it's a rather harsh beating with all of their top performers more or less sleeping through much of the game.
Derek Jeter, Shane Victorino, Chipper Jones, and Kevin Youkilis all had dead bats and went 0-for-3 in a dismal performance.
Team USA is now on the brink of elimination with their next opponent being the Netherlands.
As we can recall from last week, the relatively unknown players on Team Netherlands defeated the highly-talented Dominican Republic team. Let's just hope for Team USA's fans that the Netherlands' luck has run out.
With the way Team Puerto Rico annihilated the favorites of the World Baseball Classic, Team USA is going to have to wake up and smell the freshly cut grass.
Players win games, teams win championships.
- Bill Taylor
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