The first standings-shaking World Baseball Classic upset has occurred after Italy squared off against Chinese Taipei in Taichung. What should have been an easy win for Italy turned into anything but. With five lead changes, a slew of runs scored, and a thunderous and excited sell-out crowd, now we are left with a mess in the standing World Baseball Classic’s Pool A.
Chinese Taipei has made a statement in the World Baseball Classic
It started with Nicky Lopez, Kansas City Royals stud and the first Royals everyday shortstop to hit .300 in a season, who was again the star of the Italian team. Nicky was 2-for-3 with three RBI and scored on a fantastic squeeze bunt as the teams traded leads four times in the first five innings.
With Italy up 7-5 in the fifth, the mascots decided to level up the already hyper-excited crowd to riotous levels. It was louder than Arrowhead Stadium in a playoff game in the fourth quarter on a buy-one-get-one-free Budweiser coupon day. Chinese Taipei took the crowd’s energy and put it into play, Yu Chang especially.
Chang rocketed a game-tying two-run blast in the sixth. He would finish the night 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, a walk, pair of RBI, and three runs. I don’t know if they give games balls out, but that man deserved one for this game. Chinese Taipei took over the game from there on out, adding runs in each subsequent innings to take the game 11-7.
It was a surprisingly thrilling game from the start, amplified by the incredible crowd, the kind of World Baseball Classic upset this tournament is all about. However, the upset, and Cuba’s victory over Panama, left a bit of a mess in the Pool A standings.
After the World Baseball Classic Upset the Pool A standings, Italy, Cuba, Chinese Taipei, and Panama now have one win each with only one game left. Italy will play Panama Saturday, with Cuba going against Chinese Taipei. This will leave two teams with two wins each, with the tie-breaker being runs scored. Three high-scoring games from Cuba, Panama, and now Chinese Taipei, with more than 10 runs in each victory, will surely make Saturday’s games very intriguing. It’s anybody’s pool at this moment.