A Minute in Maryvale: 3.8.17

For the first time during 2017 Spring Training, the Milwaukee Brewers will embark on a new quest. Half of the team will leave their brothers-in-arms behind to set out to the mystical Camelback Ranch for a duel with the men in white stockings.

Ok. Ok. It’s a Split-Squad Wednesday in Brewers camp, with a pair of games on the docket for March 8. The aformentioned Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz., is the site of a 1:05 p.m. MT tilt between half of the Brewers and the Chicago White Sox, while Maryvale Baseball Park hosts the other half of the Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Junior Guerra gets his third start of the spring for Milwaukee on the road against Chicago’s Carson Fulmer, while Josh Hader earns his first start at Maryvale against Los Angeles’ Rich Hill.

In the meantime, here’s another contribution from Tim Dillard.

In other news, the 2017 World Baseball Classic is moving along at a rapid pace. With another day or two until the remaining two pools begin pool play, former Sky Sox infielder and current Brewers coach Hernan Perez and Carlos Subero have left Arizona and have reported to Venezuelan camp.

Pool A

The Netherlands 6, Chinese Taipei 5

After cruising to a 5-0 win over South Korea less than 24 hours ago, The Netherlands needed a bit of late-inning drama to walk-off and advance to the knockout round out of Pool A.

Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorius drove in three runs to lead the Dutch, giving the designated home team an early 3-2 lead in the third inning and tying the game at five in the bottom of the eighth.

Former Baltimore Orioles catching prospect Dashenko Ricardo drove in a pair of runs, but Texas’ Jurickson Profar delivered the heroics, drawing a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth to send The Netherlands into the next round.

Chinese Taipei dropped their second game to open pool play, but threatened with a three-run fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead after the Dutch scored a trio of runs of their own. Chih-Hao Chang crushed a two-run home run in the frame to lead the Asian side offensively.

With the Dutch victory, the top two teams from Pool A have been finalized. Neither of them are from the Far East.

The final games of Pool A feature the top half and the bottom half of the standings. The Netherlands takes on Israel Wednesday at 8 p.m. MT to decide who claims the No. 1 spot of the pool, while Chinese Taipei and South Korea finish group play Thursday morning at 2:30 a.m MT for a chance to earn a win in the 2017 WBC.

Pool B

Japan 4, Australia 1

The hosts of pool B got off to a slower start than their WBC opener against Cuba, but the Japanese used a pair of long balls once again to come from behind and defeat the Australia to improve to 2-0 with one more pool play game to go.

The Southern Thunder jumped out to a 1-0 lead after two innings on a solo home run from 2016 Omaha Storm Chaser Allan de San Miguel, but Japan’s pitching staff shut down the Aussies the rest of the game, scattering five total hits while striking out 11 Australian batters.

From the third inning on, the designated visitors took control playing in front 41,408 in their home dome. A day after his 4-RBI performance, Nobuhiro Matsuda tied the score on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

From there, the home run derby continued. Sho Nakata drove in the eventual game-winning run on a solo home run to left field in the seventh inning and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo crushed a two-run home run down the right field line–his second in as many games–to give Japan some insurance.

Cuba 6, China 0

After dropping their first game of the 2017 WBC to host Japan, Cuba rebounded in style, pitching a combined one-hitter to blank China and move within a win of a potential berth in the knockout round.

Bladimir Baños earned the win by tossing five scoreless innings, with Vladimir Garcia, Livan Moinelo and Miguel Lahera kept the shutout alive. After giving up 11 runs less than 24 hours before their first pitch with China, Cuba struck out 10 Chinese batters and gave up the lone single in the fifth inning.

Offensively, Roel Santos led the way from his leadoff spot in the lineup, driving in two runs and scoring two runs while recording three hits.

After participating in a pitcher’s duel through the first few innings, the Caribbean islanders broke the game open with a four-run fourth inning. Yoelkis Cespedes, the younger brother of Mets slugger Yoenis, drove in the eventual game-winning run with a single to open the scoring. Santos drove in his two runs on a triple to centerfield and Alex Ayala doubled to cap the rally.

Pool B continues Thursday morning, with Australia playing its final two games in the span of 24 hours. The squad from Down Under takes on China at 3 a.m. MT and then faces Cuba at 8 p.m. MT in the final group game for both teams.

Brewers 5, White Sox 4

Brewers 7, Dodgers 2

The Milwaukee Brewers utilized complementary baseball at multiple sites Wednesday, earning a split-squad sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox in metropolitan Phoenix to extend their winning streak to five games.

After falling behind late in the eighth inning, Ivan DeJesus, Jr., cranked a two-run home run off Chicago reliever Juan Minaya to give the Brewers (6-5) three home runs on the afternoon and the 5-4 victory at Camelback Ranch.

Milwaukee came back from an early 1-0 deficit with single runs runs in the third, sixth and seventh innings. Chicago (6-5), however, rallied with a two-run home run by Tyler Saladino in the seventh innings and a go-ahead solo home run by Rymer Liriano to steal a 4-3 win.

Josh Hader pitched two innings in his first Cactus League start of 2017, allowing a single run and striking out three Sox batters. Tyler Cravy and Rob Scahill each threw two scoreless innings before the White Sox offense got to David Goforth and Andrew Barbosa. Stephen Kohlscheen (1-0) entered in the eighth inning and shut down the Sox offense over 1 1/3 innings to earn the win.

On the other side of the plate, Lewis Brinson opened the scoring for Milwaukee by hitting his first home run of 2017 off Chicago starter Carson Fulmer, while Travis Shaw also hit his first long ball of the spring to put the Crew ahead in the sixth inning. Brett Phillips drove in the third run one inning later on a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

Meanwhile, the affair at Maryvale Baseball Park was a little more one-sided.

Ten days after dropping a 10-8 slugfest to the Dodgers (6-7) in West Phoenix, the Brewers pitching staff held the L.A. offense in a 7-2 win, with the Dodgers becoming the sixth opponent to fail to put more than three runs on the scoreboard against the Brew Crew this spring.

Junior Guerra (1-0) allowed Joc Pederson to lead off the game with a solo home run, but settled down after that at-bat, going three innings and allowing one more hit and striking out two Dodgers. The visitors managed one more hit in the game, as Neftali Feliz, Jacob Barnes, Jhan Marinez, Andy Oliver, Brandon Woodruff, Nick Ramirez and Tim Dillard helped secure the win on the mound.

Offensively, Milwaukee (7-5) answered with seven unanswered runs from the second to the fifth innings to pull away for good. Andrew Susac doubled in Eric Sogard to tie the score and, after a pair of walks loaded the bases, Ryan Cordell laced a two-run single to center to plate the eventual game-winning runs.

Michael Reed singled in the fourth run in the third inning and the Brewers’ power arrived one inning later, as Jesus Aguilar belted his second home run of the spring to extend the lead to 6-1. The new first base acquisition is batting .471 with two hoem runs and six RBIs so far this spring.

Yadiel Rivera added a RBI of his own, driving in Sogard in the fifth inning on a two out single for run No. 7.

The full squad comes back together Thursday afternoon and heads back on the road for its second trip to the Peoria Sports Complex, taking on the San Diego Padres at 1:10 p.m. MT. Former Sox pitcher Zach Davies gets the start for the third time this spring and faces the Padres’ Jarred Cosart.

(Featured image courtesy of @Brewers)

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