A Minute in Maryvale: 3.7.17

It’s quiet on the western front this Tuesday. March 7 marks the first scheduled off day for the Milwaukee Brewers since Cactus League games started on February 24.

Tomorrow marks the first day of split-squad games for the Cactus Crew. Maryvale Baseball Park will host half of the Brewers as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at 1:05 p.m. MT, while Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., will host the other half of the team as they travel to face the Chicago White Sox at 1:05 p.m. MT for the first time this spring.

It may be quiet on the field, but there’s still some news popping up across social media from outside the lines. One of note is the catching competition brewing between Jett Bandy, Andrew Susac and Manny Pina, all of whom are vying for two spots on the Brewers’ opening day roster.

For those interested in learning about some Brewers talent among the lower levels, Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricourt introduces you to shortstop Mauricio Dubon, who spent last season between two levels in the Boston Red Sox system.

In the rest of the baseball world, day two of the 2017 World Baseball Classic saw the beginning of Pool B play in Tokyo, while the early surprise of the tournament struck again with another win over an Asian opponent.

Pool A

Israel 15, Chinese Taipei 7

The squad with one of the smallest odds of winning the tournament pulled off another victory is as many games, as an offensive outburst propelled Israel to a 2-0 record in Seoul.

Playing their second game in as many days over in South Korea, the designated visitors began the game with four straight hits en route to four runs and knocking out Taiwanese starter Chun-Lin Kuo before the end of the first inning.

After the Asian islanders posted three runs in the seventh inning to cut the deficit in half, Israel scored nine runs in the final three innings, highlighted by a five-run seventh inning.

Offensively, minor league veteran Nate Freiman led the Israeli outburst by tallying 4 RBIs on three hits and scoring three runs, including a three-run home run to serve as an exclamation point in the ninth inning.

Cleveland prospect Tyler Krieger drove in three runs on three hits to up his WBC total to four RBIs in two games. MLB veteran catcher Ryan Lavarnway clubbed a two-run home run in the third inning to expand Israel’s lead to 6-0.

St. Louis prospect and 2016 Memphis Redbird Corey Baker (1-0) earned the win by throwing 4.2 scoreless innings of three-hit, three-strikeout ball. Israel wraps up pool play March 8 at 8 p.m. MT against the Netherlands in a game that could determine the order of the top two teams in Pool A.

The Netherlands 5, South Korea 0

Speaking of the Dutch, the Oranje opened their WBC campaign with a shutout victory over the Pool A hosts in Seoul Tuesday morning. The loss puts South Korea at 0-2, making the road to the knockout rounds a bit more difficult.

The designated home team jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead two batters into the game as Texas’ Jurickson Profar crushed a two-run home to right field, scoring Angels infielder Andrelton Simmons. One inning later, Simmons drove in a run of his own on a line-drive double to left field to increase the lead to three.

The Dutch capped its offense in the sixth inning via a two-run homer off the bat of former Nationals prospect Randolph Oduber. In total, seven of the starting nine Dutch hitters recorded at least one hit to give the Europeans a comfortable cushion.

On the mound, five pitchers combined for the shutout, led by former Major Leaguer Rick van den Hurk (1-0), who threw four scoreless innings while surrendering three of the six Korean hits.

South Korea closes out pool play early Thursday 2:30 a.m. MT against Chinese Taipei, while The Netherlands plays two games on Wednesday: Chinese Taipei at 2:30 a.m. MT and Israel at 8 p.m. MT.

POOL B

Japan 11, Cuba 6

Pool B began as a pitcher’s duel to start, but the host nation broke out offensively with a five-run fifth inning to pull away with the victory in front of a sellout crowd at the Tokyo Dome Tuesday.

Six Japanese hitters drove in at least one run, led by Nobuhiro Matsuda’s 4 RBIs and Yoshitumo Tsutsugo’s 3 RBIs. Matsuda pushed the game out of reach for the Cubans with a three-run home run to left field, while Tsutsugo launched a two-run shot in the seventh to stop the visitor’s rally.

The lone Western Hemisphere nation in Pool B rallied within three runs on two different occasions with five runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Pinch-hitter Guillermo Aviles grounded a two-run single as part of a three-run seventh, while Yurisbel Gracial lined a two-run double in the eighth to lead the Caribbean island at the plate.

Ayumu Ishikawa (1-0) earned the victory for Japan, going four innings and giving up one earned run on two hits. Cuba plays its second game in 24 hours Tuesday at 8 p.m. MT against China, while Japan faces Australia Wednesday at 3 a.m. MT.

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