Monday, March 4, 2013

World Baseball Classic Championship Picks - Can the US Win It All?

The 2013 World Baseball Classic is underway for Pools A and B, with the rest of the teams getting into the action by the weekend.

In Pool A, Japan and Cuba have jumped out in front, already winning both of their games.  Things are getting interesting in Pool B, with the Netherlands beating Korea, but losing to Chinese Taipei.  Going off of my picks from last week's WBC post, here are some predictions for the second and championship rounds.

In the second round, the winners and runners-up from Pools A and B will face off, pitting who I believe with be Japan versus the Netherlands, and Korea vs Cuba.  I think these games will be some of the best of the entire tournament... until we get to Pools C and D, that is.  These teams are deep, and have a lot of talent, even though they are lacking players than many baseball fans in the US would recognize.  I want to see the Netherlands do well here, but this grouping is a tall order to fill.  Look for Japan to take this one, with Cuba right behind them.  Korea lost early to the Netherlands in pool play, so maybe they're not the same team from the past two WBC's.

Pools C and D's second round match-ups could be 20-run affairs one day, then a 2-1 contest the next.  Ideally, the United States, Canada, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic would make it through, and those four teams are stacked.  My bias is going to show a little here, but while I think the US will make it through, I believe they'll be runners-up to the Dominican Republic.

So that brings us to the final four teams, and if all goes according to plan, the US with face Japan while the Dominican Republic takes on Cuba.  I would absolutely love to see a US-DR final, so I'm gonna say it happens.  With that game, no matter who the winner is, the WBC will earn more merit than its gotten the past two tournaments.  The games are huge in Asian countries and the Caribbean, but they have never held much weight in the US or Canada.  Hopefully with so many well-known stars playing, this year will be a big jumping point for the World Baseball Classic

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