The Dominican Republic defeated Venezuela 3-0 in their second round World Baseball Classic matchup on Thursday. Miguel Cabrera had a rough night, going hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts before he left the game due to back tightness. However, we have to give it up to Manny Machado and Carlos Santana because they made a great play robbing Cabrera of a hit. Victor Martinez didn’t fare much better either, going hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts.
The good news? Bruce Rondon looked good against Jose Bautista, fanning Bautista on back-to-back pitches for the strikeout.
With a hell of a comeback victory, team USA took the first game of the second round of the World Baseball Classic beating Venezuela 5-3 on Wednesday night, it was capped off by a two-run homer run by fellow AL Central 1st basemen Eric Hosmer. Jon Morosi elaborates more on how good team USA looks.
Despite being on the losing side, Felix Hernandez let everyone know he is back with a strong five innings allowing only three hits while also punching out three. It also featured his famous “Royal Curve” that leaves the batter looking silly.
So you’re saying it has been a while
After pitching in two games last season, the San Diego Padres have been trying Christian Bethancourt as a two-way player at catcher and pitcher this year. If this continues into the regular season, he would be the first pitcher-catcher player since World War II. He threw a total of 1 2/3 innings in two relief apperances last year, giving up a hit, three walks, and one strikeout. He has touched 96 miles per hour with his fastball. He also threw an eephus pitch in his two appearances, and executed it quite successfully.
Tonight, Team USA takes on Puerto Rico at 10pm ET on MLB.tv
After watching Bruce Rondon strikeout Ian Kinsler in Wednesday night’s contest, we have another Tigers showdown possible tonight between Ian Kinsler and Joe Jimenez.
Other news around the league
Josh Donaldson hit a home run in a minor league rehab assignment yesterday and walked straight into the dugout without touching a single base. According to Reddit, he was given strict orders not to run the bases; that’s why he was playing in the minor league game. In other Blue Jays news, the organization is punishing Aaron Sanchez for turning down a small raise.
Former Tiger Max Scherzer is feeling good after a smooth three-inning start. He went back to his standard two-fingered fastball grip after a stress fracture in his right ring finger. However, it still doesn’t appear as though he will be ready for the Nats’ opener.
In other news, St. Louis Cardinal Trevor Rosenthal is attempting to make a rare switch from closer to starter. He started and pitched two scoreless innings yesterday. Former Tiger Yoenis Cespedes writes a piece for The Players Tribune about his ranch home in South Florida where he and his two cousins built a batting cage this past off-season. Marlins manager Don Mattingly will do whatever it takes to motivate his team this spring. Yesterday the Phillies lost a combined no-hitter in the ninth inning.
If you’re a Mariners fan you’re probably feeling pretty dang good after Wednesday night according to Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs. Jose Bautista was heckled while in the on-deck circle during a spring training game this week, he turned around and responded to the heckler. Former MLB player C.J. Wilson talks about transitioning from baseball into his love of racing due to numerous injuries.
For all the advanced metrics gurus, The Hardball Times just posted a piece on measuring the quality of a pitch, it’s an interesting read. And another science-based article comes from Eno Sarris of Fangraphs, who writes on the tools of baseball’s fly-ball revolution. Alan Zinter has a great article on Swing Planes, Launch Positions, and Tutoring Young Padres and Jeff Sullivan found a stat that Mike Trout is bad at, finally.
What’s happening in the AL Central
Salvador Perez, catcher for the Kansas City Royals had his second MRI and it came back clean after he had a collision during a WBC game. The WBC is also wreaking havoc on the Twins starting rotation preparation, the how and why explained in the Twin Cities. Carlos Carrasco tried throwing all fastballs in his last start and it didn’t go so well, as detailed by our friends at Let’s Go Tribe. Recently acquired prospect Reynaldo Lopez is making a good impression on new White Sox Manager Rick Renteria. The Cleveland Indians made a “nice play” for Jose Bautista in the off-season. Also recently acquired White Sox’ prospect, Yoan Moncada, hit two home runs in the same game, his first homers of the spring.
Yesterday the Tigers battled and won a closely contested 5-3 game against the Braves. The start by Daniel Norris saw him surrender two runs in the first two innings before settling in for a solid 4 and 2/3 innings, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out four. This pushes the Tigers winning streak to three games.
JaCoby Jones hit a homer in the 2nd inning, his second of the week, and Lynn Henning believes this should warrant a second look by the Tigers front office. Anthony Fenech of the Free Press has similar thoughts on JaCoby’s recent performance. Jones stole a pair of bases in the game as well. After Norris surrendered his second run, Nick Castellanos brought the lead back to the Tigers with a two-run bomb off the scoreboard in the 5th inning. James McCann and Dixon Machado also tallied RBIs in the game to ensure a Tigers victory. The Tigers bullpen was also great, allowing only one run by Buck Farmer in the 9th.
Don’t forget, the Tigers are on actual television
Yes, the Tigers will be on Fox Sports Detroit when Michael Fulmer takes on Masahiro Tanaka and the New York Yankees at 1:05pm on Friday. You can also watch it on FoxSportsGo.com or the FoxSportsGo app with your television provider subscription.
Brandon reminds us why we shouldn’t worry so much about the Tigers spring training performance, or lack thereof. Ashley explains why our centerfield situation isn’t really that troubling. Mikie Mahtook isn’t concerned by his numbers during spring training so far. Daniel Norris made Steve Gardener of USA Today’s list of 5 MLB Pitchers poised for breakout seasons in 2017. Brad Ausmus talks about looking more at his catchers’ skills behind the plate rather their at-bats in this article by MLive.com’s Evan Woodbery. Mark Lowe talks about James McCann’s assistance with his mechanics. Anibal Sanchez touches on the mechanic adjustments he’s made. On this St. Patrick’s Day, as always, we remember the Legend of Lefty O’Doul. In case you missed it, there is a Tigers LootCrate available, read more about it here.