WBC: Perfectly Patriotic! Team USA Crushes Puerto Rico To Win First WBC Title

Team USA

The World Baseball Classic is played only once every four years, like the Olympics. It’s not as popular over here as it should be. Some people have problems with the rules and contrived tournament style. However it’s important to note that Team USA had never won the World Baseball Classic since its inception. NEVER! That’s pretty hard to believe considering all of the talented players that have played for the United States, but here we are. Team USA had never even been to the Championship game before tonight and had reached the championship round only once (2009) in WBC history.

All of that has been erased because our beloved Team USA finally won it. The Americans defeated Team Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday night in the 2017 WBC championship game at Dodger Stadium to capture the tournament title for the first time ever. What a huge win for American baseball. Of course it’s not as awesome as a Dodger world championship, but it’s something we should all take national pride in. Tonight we were all on the same club, rooting our country to victory. That’s what the World Baseball Classic is all about.

USA                8 13 0

Puerto Rico 0 3 1





It was quite a sight as the Americans came into the game as heavy underdogs to the powerhouse Puerto Rico ballclub that came into the final game undefeated in the tournament. The Puerto Ricans had beat Team USA just a couple of weeks ago in the second round. Puerto Rico got to the championship game by narrowly defeating the Netherlands in the semifinals on Monday night by a single run. Speaking of narrow defeats, the USA handed one to Team Japan in the semifinals on Tuesday night to get here as well.

The pitching matchup pitted New York Mets rookie Seth Lugo against the talented Toronto right hander Marcus Stroman. Team USA was very well put together and their deep roster shined in the WBC finale as they destroyed the Puerto Ricans, jumping out to an early lead and dashing any hopes early on.

USA scored twice in the top of the third when Jonathan Lucroy singled to center and Ian Kinsler homered over the center field wall. Lugo was able to get out of the inning after walking Adam Jones by retiring Christian Yelich on a called strike three and whiffing Nolan Arenado and Andrew McCutchen.

The Americans kept at it and padded their lead with two more runs in the fifth frame. Kinsler singled, Jones walked and Yelich sliced a base hit into right to score Kinsler and put USA up 3-0. With Lugo clearly on the ropes Puerto Rico hooked Lugo and brought in Joe Jimenez. The USA was able to score one more run when two outs later McCutchen’s ground ball single to the hole at shortstop plated Yelich to put Team USA up 4-0. Javier Baez made a valiant diving effort but the ball was hit to deep in the hole.

Meanwhile on the pitching side Stroman was throwing a gem. He recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the first. After a walk to old man Carlos Beltran leading off the bottom of the second, he induced Yadier Molina to hit into a double play. Then he finished the inning by striking out Baez.

Stroman tossed another perfect inning in the third, and another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. Before you knew it, he was throwing a no-hitter. Stroman got three consecutive grounders in the fifth inning, and three more grounders in the sixth. He had everything working tonight, and didn’t allow a hit until Angel Pagan doubled in the seventh inning. By then it was 7-0 USA, but Pagan still did his best to pump up the listless Puerto Rican offense. Stroman finished with 6 shutout innings pitched allowing just one hit one walk and recorded three strikeouts. His performance earned him a well deserved MVP. He was killing worms all night.

The USA bats never let up. They put up three more runs in the top of the seventh inning. With two outs, Arenado singled and Eric Hosmer was hit by a pitch. After McCutchen walked to load the bases, Brandon Crawford’s single to center scored two and the Americans were now leading 6-0. After another Puerto Rico pitching change, Giancarlo Stanton immediately singles to left and the Americans had a commanding 7-0 advantage.

Overall the Americans scored eight runs on 13 hits and were 5 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Five players in the US lineup (Kinsler, Yelich, Arenado, McCutchen, Stanton) had two hits and McCutchen, Crawford, and Stanton each drove in two runs. Puerto Rico had just three hits on the day.

David Robertson pitched the final inning. The last out was recorded when Carlos Correa grounded to third. Team USA mobbed each other on the field as they hoisted a statue of the American eagle. Pretty patriotic if you ask me.

Maybe people will start to get more excited about the WBC now. The rules may not be perfect and Adrian Gonzalez may hate it because he’s kind of a sore loser (Mexico got knocked out on a tiebreaker) but this was an exciting tournament. Team USA gave us a lot of thrilling and dramatic moments that culminated in a championship.

Now all we need to perfectly bookend this baseball season is a Dodgers world championship. We now return you to our regularly scheduled Dodgers spring training slog. The boys in Blue play Thursday afternoon at Surprise Stadium against the Rangers with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Let the flag fly high! USA! USA! USA!

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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34 thoughts on “WBC: Perfectly Patriotic! Team USA Crushes Puerto Rico To Win First WBC Title

  1. 51,565 at Dodger Stadium. That’s gotta be a record. Of the 51,565 I believe only 1 Dodger in attendance. He was 0fer. I watched most of it. Can’t say I was all that moved. USA! We’re the greatest. Not the happiest though, right Chili?

    Kershaw today. Probably not his last start, probably only go 4-5 innings, depending on pitch count. I’m very interested in this start. In fact, all starts from now until Monday 4/3 are to be watched very carefully. It is time to dial it in.

    1. Happiest? That’s an individual thing. I’m very happy with my life. Got a ‘do something’ President. On sunny Sunday’s I drive my 911 Carrera. All is good.

      Now if it’s about the Dodgers…..yeah, not too pleased. But might want to watch whom you are throwing rocks at.

      Are You on the Hill, McCarthy, Kazmir bandwagon? Do You think the players that resigned long term contracts will perform as they did last year? Do You think Puig is going to be healthy, coachable and put up All-Star caliber numbers for a full season? Do You think Gonzalez is going to be healthy and put up numbers equal to top level first basemen? Is Seager going to improve upon last season, statistically speaking? Is Pederson’s BA going to be higher than his .246 of last year or will he rescind from that level? That doesn’t even include the question marks associated with Grandal, Forsythe Etheir and Toles. And of course is Kershaw’s back going to hold up so that he can be the work horse once again. I think a LOT went right last year for the Dodgers, not even mentioning the epic collapse of the 3 -time WS Champs Giants. If FAZ/Dodgers fans think that will happen this year, well they might be in for a rude awakening. Allow the Giants to get 8-10 games in front and see what happens. Of course my glass is half full. Our win totals have declined every year since FAZ has been here. Our starting rotation is weaker than it was prior to FAZ coming on board. We have not gotten younger. We do not play aggressive baseball. We lack speed throughout the lineup. We look to walk or hit a home run which never bodes well in the post season, hence why the team has not advanced to the World Series.

      Have I made my point? Now can someone please fill my glass to the rim so I can enjoy this cool drink. Then life would be perfect!

      1. With respect to your hypothetical questions, if half turn out to be in the affirmative then the team will be ok.

        A lot went right with the Dodgers last year? …as in, “luck?” Are you kidding? Wait! Didn’t they set a record for total days spent on the DL by players? Didn’t the offense go completely dark in the first half before they found their bats in the second?

    2. Largest crowd at Dodger Stadium………….April 13, 2009………57,097 against the Giants. Had to be a standing room only crowd. That was before Stadium capacity reduced to 52,000. 2 NL teams have cracked 4,000,000 in attendance……Rockies and Mets………….Dodgers largest…..3,857,036 in 2007.

    3. I think it’s hardwired into Progressive DNA to be ambivalent if not hostile to the idea of the United States. Pity.

      1. Please explain.

        I consider myself progressive, and thought enough of the United States to risk my life to protect it. And I’m not the only one. In my Vietnam Veterans counseling group we had 8 combat veterans. 5 of the 8 called themselves progressive.

  2. Wait a minute, Isn’t Puerto Rico part of the U.S.? Why do they have their own team. The people are U.S. citizens. Sure, it’s our red-headed step child, but still part of the U.S. Just saw the Puerto Rico Governor on Fox two days ago. They are voting to see if the people want to become the 51st state or independent.

    Tucker Carlson, did ask what’s in it for the other 50 states. Puerto Rico is broke, nothing new there. Good segment, but not as good as watching Tucker dissect libs.

    1. Puerto Rico is what they call a US protectorate. We do not have colonies or territories anymore. Guam, Wake Island and Midway are all protectorates too…..They are citizens, but have no say in the government…..

    2. I like Tucker. His debate strategy isn’t always successful, but I love it when a really smart guy uses strong logical arguments to dissect an opponent rather than resorting to talking points. To be even handed, I also like Jake Tapper from CNN. He’s the only worthwhile person on that network.

  3. Good post Chili.

    I do think Puig will play well this year. I think AGon will be ok, but not great. He’s a pro. I agree with your take on the rotation and the age of our roster. I’m hopeful but can’t say this team excites me. I’d like to see younger, more athletic players at several key positions, most notably on the mound. Seager, Bellinger, Verdugo, Calhoun, Buehler, Urias, Alvarez. I’m anxious to see these guys play together.

    I’ve always thought Puerto Rico would make an interesting 51st state. Hawaii might be pissed. And of course corporations would find it ripe for raping. Resorts, rum production, cigars. Bayer and Monsanto are already there of course, but the agricultural could experience a real renaissance. Tourism would explode. Some nice beaches there.

    1. I agree Badger. Chili makes some valid points. I will touch on a couple. Past Kershaw and Maeda, I do not have a lot of faith in the rotation. Wood has looked pretty good his last couple of starts. Ryu has surprised me. But we need a larger sampling on him. McCarthy has looked iffy. No Kazmir to speak of, and Hill is struggling with his control. Urias at this juncture is not a factor. Except for Morrow, most of the lead ins to Kenley have been mediocre to horrible. Hatcher couldn’t get my grandma out. Romo and Baez have not thrown much. So there are large questions there. I do like the way Puig and Joc have changed their approach at the plate. I think that if they stick with what they are doing they will be fine. Joc has 5 dingers, and has looked pretty solid. Oaks is pitching tomorrow, and I am anxious to see this kid pitch.

  4. On the site where they pat each other on the ass all day long, well except for one realistic blogger, the statement below was made and they all high 5 themselves and spilt their Dodger Blue Kool-Aid on each other…….

    “In today’s market, the SP is the greatest injury risk, and the largest investment.”

    Really? Does anyone look at the facts?

    Of the Top 25 paid baseball players by year beginning in 2011, below is how many are/were starting pitchers…….


    Does anyone see a trend within these numbers? It’s as if because they ‘think it’, then it must be true.
    And the irony is that the true stars of the game haven’t reached their big paydays yet…..yes, the Manny Machado’s, Nolen Arenado, Mike Trout, Bruce Harper, Anthony Rizzo, etc, etc., etc.,

    Today’s pitchers are treated with kid gloves and therefore the industry has created this aura of fragility. Any little ache and the pitcher is placed on the DL. Sure they are an investment but so is every other player in the starting line up. With today’s guaranteed contracts, I would suffice to say that has had more to do with the missed time than anything else. After all, where is the incentive to take the ball every 5th day and go 8+ innings?

    1. To further espouse, the statement was made to fit their narrative that FAZ is way ahead of all other FO’s (yes, yes, ignore the fact that they have never won anything…..no reason to let the facts get in the way now) and that’s why FAZ has accumulated all of this starting pitching depth. Them idiots know as the Cubs, Cards, Nats, Mets and Giants have no depth (again, ignore that since 2010 those teams have won 5 World Series) and it will cost them in the end.

      1. No, that wasn’t the narrative. I think the point that was being made was not to make an unfavorable comparison to Epstein based on the total number of WS titles. There are other mitigating factors, including payroll, so making a side by side comparison is fraught with error. At least it’s misleading and simplistic. Though if you have your own narrative that you’re peddling – that FAZ is the hydra-headed manifestation of pure baseball evil and the Dodgers will never amount to anything as long as they’re in charge so I’m going to complain non-stop in the comments section of a blog (whew, that’s a mouthfull) – then making such a silly comparison might make some logical sense, and I’m being generous with that last characterization.

        The point was/is not that those other teams are idiots or to make make unrealistically favorable comparisons, it was to point out that the overall Dodger organization is in pretty good shape and the future looks pretty good. I don’t see why that’s so controversial or offensive.

        1. “If you have your own narrative that you’re peddling – that FAZ is the hydra-headed manifestation of pure baseball evil and that the Dodgers will never amount to anything as long as they’re in charge” …..

          Never heard that said by anyone. Sounds to me like you’re peddling a narrative that nobody in here posted. I do think Freudy at DT believes that, and I have heard a certain poster, no longer here, suggest FAZ is way ahead of other GMs out there. I don’t agree with that. Obviously there are some plenty smart and successful GMs in this business. I think most people questioning FAZ, and I include myself in that group, are just examining and critiquing a few of the moves they’ve made. For the most part I like where the team is, but they were already two time Division Champion when Friedman got here. Adding Latos and Johnson failed, the trades critiqued by the fangraphs article posted yesterday are questionable, including adding Hill and Reddick, a trade that accomplished nothing and cost 3 very legit big league prospects.

          I’ve said before and it bears repeating, the only true measure of success is improvement. It’s only been 2 full years on the job, and looking at where we finished before and where we finished after, the empirical evidence says no, we aren’t better. Actually, an argument could be made we’ve slipped a bit. We had 2 straight Division Championships and the best minor league system in the bigs when they got here. We have 2 more Division Championships and the 5th best minor league system now. They did however reduce payroll, after actually raising it.

          All that said, I did like reading your post. It was well written and I found it thought provoking.

  5. I am cautiously optimistic about this season. My top concerns?
    1 – Unreliable rotation. The much vaunted “depth” simply means that because most of the starters can’t be counted on either to pitch every 5 days or to stay healthy or to pitch well, the Dodgers need 15 starters and not the 5 -7 that most teams need. After Kershaw, there isn’t a guy they can count on to even throw 180 innings.
    2 – Getting the ball to Jansen. Last year, after trying several different guys in the role, the Dodgers settled on Joe Blanton to pitch the 8th. This year, Blanton is history. Baez is useful but gives up too many HR’s to be the top set-up guy. Hatcher – please no! Romo – good against righties only. Dayton – maybe but we only have 1/2 season to go on. Given the Dodgers’ predilection for 5 inning starts, will the ‘pen come through again?
    3 – Bench construction. I really don’t understand the Gutierrez and Utley signings. If they go with a 4 man bench this leaves them with either no back up 1B or no back up SS.
    4 – LF and RF. Will Puig be any good? Will Ethier be healthy? Will the likes of Thompson and Toles get another shot and if so, will they be any good given last years’ small sample size?

    I hope, with all Dodger fans, that the Dodgers will overcome these and other problems but am not willing to pretend that I think that all is or will be well.

    1. You were saying nearly the same exact thing at the nearly the same exact time last year.

      There were question marks with the starting rotation last year, and the team was devastated by injuries, to the point where the team set a record for days on the DL, but the starting rotation still managed to be one of the best in baseball in effectiveness, and this in spite of Kershaw being the DL for two months.

      The bullpen was a source of near constant complaining and hand ringing last year. Oh, the hue and cry over signing Joe Blanton….washed up Joe Blanton! The bullpen was one of the team’s strengths last year.

      In spite of this, in spite of the offense not showing up for the first half of the season, I thought the team did all right. They still might not be on par with the Cubs, but I think they’re on the right track. I just hope they can establish that dynasty while Kershaw is still around.

  6. Thought provoking posts this morning.

    By position:


    I believe 4 of the top 5 most highly paid are pitchers. None of them go 8 regularly, but all of them have been mostly reliable every 5 days.

    I have the same concerns Rick. LF could be interesting now that Ethier is iffy. I think Thompson could be a real thumper out there, and an outfield of Thompson, Pederson and Puig could be electric. It could just as easily be disappointing. My biggest concern is pitching. The talent is there, but will it all come together? Still, with all our warts, this is a 90 or better win team. We’re fortunate.

  7. I thought these pitchers, were suppose to be only a bridge, to our young pitchers.

    And that our young pitchers are really close.

    1. This is valid, but still interesting because of Hill.

      I don’t think Hill is seen as a bridge, but as a true high-quality asset. Perhaps that’s why the team spent more (in prospects plus) on him.

      Badger’s right IMO with the depth this team has it should be a 90 win team even if it’s as bad-break laden as last year.

      1. FAZ clearly believes that Hill is worth a lot. 3 top prospects and $6 million for 47 innings last year and $48mm more until he is 39. Hope he’s worth all that.

        The West will be better this year, but not better than us. I’m very encouraged by having Ryu look ready. He may not go all year but 15 starts from him will be a big deal when McKazwood goes down. Stripling and Stewart could help, but neither are more than a 5.5 starter in my estimation.

          1. Bluto

            I know I have made it clear that I don’t like those other pitchers signed, but I do think Hill is different, because he has a much higher upside, then those other pitchers.

            But the question really is how close are our young pitchers.

            Because if they are really close, we don’t want a older veteran pitcher, to block them.

            That is all.

          2. MJ,

            The only word I have an issue with is “block”. The point is depth. You can’t have depth, if you are relying on a single outcome (prospect pitcher is ready to pitch and thus will: remain healthy AND pitch well AND not have innings limit, etc.)

            You sign and develop for depth.

      2. There is this either/or thinking that goes on with respect to what the FAZ strategy is.

        “Well, if they’re supposedly building for the future, why are they signing So and So? …I want them to win now! Why didn’t they sign So and So for a billion dollars?”

        Here’s the tricky part…the subtlety, the balancing act. This is an organization that is trying to do both: be competitive and win now WITHOUT compromising their long term future. That’s not easy to do.

        Rich Hill and his 40-something million contract is not the same as Greinke and his 200+contract. I don’t see the folks here who were absolutely losing their minds when Greinke wasn’t re-signed now eating crow. Meh, ok. Even if Hill or McCarthy don’t pan out, a comparatively wealthy and healthy team can absorb those losses. It makes the risk/reward favorable. If the team can field a rotation that is in the top five again and hold on until the likes of Buehler, Alvarez, Urias and that new guy from Santa Clara start making an impact, then mission accomplished.

  8. Thompson has more thunder in his bat. A lot more. I like the idea of him, as in what he COULD bring. I’d be fine if Toles outplays him.

    1. Badger

      Like I said, I like them both.

      I don’t know if Thompson can hit at an decent average, but I give him credit, because he is patient when he is up.

      I just don’t want another all or nothing hitter, in our line up.

      We need a hitter, that is going to help the offense, be more productive.

      And almost everyone in our line up, can hit one out.

      And they both have speed, in a different way.

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