2023 WBC Chaos: Pool A Ends in Five-Way Tie, Cuba, Italy Advance
The World Baseball Classic is in full swing, and Pool A competition is complete.
The pool ended in a five-way tie. Cuba, Italy, Netherlands, Panama and Chinese Taipei were all knotted up in pool play, tying at two wins and two losses each.
Cuba and Italy were the two squads that advanced. They advanced due to the tiebreaker rule that the WBC has in place.
WBC’s Tiebreaker Rules
The way that the tiebreaker rules go in the Classic are as follows: the team with the fewest runs allowed per outs claims the tiebreaker. Cuba allowed 15 runs and recorded 108 outs, good for a .139 runs allowed/outs ratio. That was the best in the group.
Italy allowed 17 runs per 108 outs. That allowed them to be the runners-up. The Dutch? They had 19 runs allowed and 102 outs recorded for a .186 runs out tally. Panama had 21 runs allowed and 105 outs recorded for .200 runs/out percentage. To round out the group, Chinese Taipei allowed 31 runs and recorded 105 outs for .295 runs/out.
It’s a really tough break for the Dutch, Panama, and Chinese Taipei. This group is as even as it gets, and the three squads caught a tough break with the way the tiebreaker system works.
Cuba and The Netherlands were the favorites to win the group, and the Dutch won’t even make it out of pool play. This comes off the heels of a 7-1 Italy shellacking of the Dutch, which proved to be the biggest win for the Italians in the WBC.
Italy would have not advanced if they hadn’t won by the margin they did. The Netherlands, down by several runs in the sixth inning, had the bases loaded and nobody out. They did not score. Had they converted that opportunity, they might have advanced to the next round.
The Rest of the Pool Play
For the Cubans, they’ll advance on to Japan, where they will take on the Pool B runner-up. Currently, that team is Australia, and that result should hold unless something drastic happens. It will be either the Aussies, the Cinderella Czech Republic, or Korea.
As for Italy, I don’t think anyone expected them to advance past pool play. The win over the Dutch is one that the Italians can be very proud of. The Netherlands is a baseball powerhouse in this tournament, and Italy knocked them off when no one gave them much of a chance. They’ll also head to the quarterfinals in Japan, where they’ll take on the Pool B winner, which is all but certainly going to be Japan themselves.
No one is going to give Italy a chance in that match either. Let’s see if they can shock the world again.
Overall, this World Baseball Classic has been amazing so far. The level of competition is very high, and it seems like anyone can win at any time. Japan has shown the most strength so far, making easy work of the four games they’ve played.
The USA and Dominican Republic, the two favorites heading into the WBC, got off to opposite starts. The Americans defeated Great Britain in Pool C play, while the Dominicans fell to Venezuela in a group-play upset. With Puerto Rico also winning, the DR is going to have to make up ground if they want to escape the rigorous Pool D competition.
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