While the MLB season is still a few weeks out before Opening Day, the World Baseball Classic is in full swing starting this past weekend in the United States pools of the tournament. Like most clubs, the Rockies have a few players representing their countries in this year’s tournament, including Kyle Freeland and Daniel Bard for Team USA. In total, the Rockies have five players playing in the WBC this year, with an sixth possible in Germán Márquez joining Venezuela in the second round if they make it due to a hamstring injury. Pools A and B started last week and are already wrapped up, but Pools C and D are still going today and Wednesday. Team USA has an off day today, Tuesday, before their Pool C finale against Colombia on Wednesday evening. All but Justin Lawrence are playing in Pools C and D, so these Rockies will still have more opportunities in the coming days to make their mark in the World Baseball Classic. So let’s take a look at how the Rockies’ WBC stars have done so far.
Justine Lawrence pitched out of the bullpen for Team Panama, pitching twice in the Pool A games. Lawrence did not concede a run in either outing and stuck out three batters in two innings of work. On March 8th against Chinese Taipei, Lawrence had one strikeout in his inning of work to seal the win for Panama. Despite the loss to Cuba, Lawrence pitched a solid inning, including two strikeouts. Despite Lawrence’s solid performances out of the pen, Team Panamana was eliminated by tiebreaker rules despite all five teams going 2-2 in their pool games.
Alan Trejo has started two games for Team Mexico at shortstop in Pool C. Trejo has two hits and a walk so far in eight plate appearances in two games, including two hits and an RBI against the United States on Sunday evening. In Pool C opening game against Colombia, Trejo went 0-2 striking out once and drawing a walk. Team Mexico is currently sitting at 1-1 with their off day on Monday coming off a dominate 11-5 win against the United States.
Kyle Freeland was one of the first pitches out of the pen on Saturday night against Great Britain. Freeland, whose name is appropriate to pitch against the British, threw three innings in relief against the British in their first ever WBC game. The left was efficient in his three inning, only giving up one run on two hits, while striking three batters. Freeland only needed 29 pitches to get his nine outs. His performance was important to keep the lead for Team USA through the middle innings of USA’s opening game.
Daniel Bard got an appearance in Team USA’s second game against Team Mexico Sunday night in Phoenix. Bard did not have his best stuff Sunday night, giving up four runs on four hits, walking another in only 2⁄3 of an inning. Team USA’s pitching staff struggled mightily against Mexico, giving up 11 runs, so Bard’s performance was just one of many that sunk Team USA on Sunday. Hopefully Bard gets another chance in the WBC to improve on his first performance.
The catcher for Team Colombia is the Colorado Rockies’ own Elías Díaz. The Colombian catcher only went 1-4 and struck out twice in the extra inning win over Team Mexico, but Díaz’s lone hit was crucial to get Colombia’s offense going. After being shut down by Dodgers’ start Julio Urías, Colombia put up three runs in the fifth, including an RBI double by Elías Díaz to get things going.
Which Rockies performance in the WBC has impressed you so far? Let us know in the comments!
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Rockies prospect Michael Toglia went deep for the first time this Spring on Sunday afternoon, launching one 419 feet to right field against the DBacks. With limited space left on the Opening Day roster that Toglia is striving to make, Sunday’s home run was a great way to stand out over the other roster hopefuls. “That was a good swing, for sure, but he’s capable of that. Jumped on a first-pitch fastball, squared it up. Looks to me that he’d been trying to do too much — at-bat to at-bat, you could see different plans. But eventually he’ll be fine,” manager Bud Black had to say about Toglia’s performance Sunday.One of the things the coaching staff wanted to see out of Toglia this spring was solid hits off the barrel of the bat, and the switch hitter did just that against the DBacks.
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