This might come as a shock, but the Dominican Republic has a lot of good baseball players. It's why they're the odds-on favorite to win the World Baseball Classic again this year, and their depth showed in a 9-2 win over Canada in their first WBC showing of 2017.
Jose Bautista went 3-for-4 and drove in 4 runs, with most of the damage coming on a three-run homer in the 6th inning to put the game out of reach. The bottom three of the Dominican order -- Adrian Beltre, Gregory Polaco and Wellington Castillo -- went a combined 4-for-11 with a walk, 3 runs score and 4 RBI. It's a scary lineup.
On the other side, Ryan Dempster got roughed up for 7 hits and 4 runs in two innings. Former Brewer Big Jim Henderson also struggled, giving up three hits and a run while walking one before getting pulled after recording only one out in the 5th inning.
Brewers scout and former farmhand Pete Orr started at second base for the Canadians and went 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
Mexico opened up its slate with the Cinderella of the previous WBC, Team Italy. Despite playing well for most of the game, it was the first and last innings that ultimately led to a 10-9 loss to the Italians.
Former Brewers great Yovani Gallardo had a very Yovani Gallardo start, striking out 5 in 4 innings but also giving up 4 runs on 4 hits. The only thing missing was 3 or 4 walks (he finished with none, and only threw 57 pitches in 4 innings, keeping this from being a true Gallardo game).
Carlos Torres threw a scoreless 6th inning, recording a hold for maintaining what was a 7-5 Mexico lead. Unfortunately the rest of his penmates, they weren't as dependable. Toronto's Roberto Osuna and Washington's Oliver Perez blew a 5-run lead in the bottom of the 9th without recording a single out.
Other WBC Results:
Japan 7, China 1: As expected, Japan has no trouble sweeping Pool B. Sho Nakata and Seiji Kobayashi both hit 2-run homers for the pool's host country.
Cuba 4, Australia 3: Alfredo Despaigne hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 5th that was the difference. Cuba finishes in second place in Pool B and advances to the next round, joining Israel, Japan and the Netherlands in Pool E.
Brewers in Games Tonight:
Venezuela vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m. CST (Jorge Lopez, Andrew Barbosa and Hiram Burgos on Team PR, Latin Babe Ruth Hernan Perez on Team Venezuela)
Other Games Tonight:
Colombia vs. United States, 5 p.m. CST