Happy WBC day to those who celebrate. The fifth World Baseball Classic begins tonight at 11 p.m. ET when Cuba takes on the Netherlands. Nine* Guardians players will participate in the tournament, with the biggest names being Andrés Giménez playing shortstop for Venezuela and Cal Quantrill pitching for Canada.
Are you going to stay up late to watch the first game (and maybe catch a glimpse of international superstar Richie Palacios)?
*Enyel De Los Santos is still listed on the Dominican Republic roster, but he’s dealing with a hamstring injury. So most likely only eight will play.
Guardians 0, Angels 6
If this game mattered, it would have been ugly. The Guardians earned just five hits and were blanked by a mishmash of Angels pitchers. The silver lining is that Emmanuel Clase looked great in his first outing of the spring, striking out one batter in an inning of work.
Cleveland Guardians news
Clase in midseason form in spring debut | MLB
If you don’t believe me about Emmanuel Clase (or you couldn’t watch because there was no Cleveland broadcast), here is MLB.com about on his debut. And it sounds like Carl Willis has a plan to make him even better next year.
“The one thing that showed itself last year was when he accidentally got to the top of the strike zone and above, hitters really couldn’t pull the trigger or got beat,” pitching coach Carl Willis said.
“We’re working on establishing the ability for him to do that when he wants to do it as opposed to just the occasional accident. I think that will help in terms of maybe changing some eye levels a little bit and give him another area of the strike zone to attack. With the action he gets on it, it’s a tough pitch to hit.”
The Winners And Losers From MLB’s New Rules | FiveThirtyEight
You already knew the Guardians were prepared for this year’s rule changes with their heavy emphasis on baserunning and defense without a lot of shifting, but FiveThirtyEight actually put a number to it with their tongue-in-cheek new stat: MANFRED (Metric for Assessing Negative or Favorable Rule-Effect Dynamics).
While I would buy into the idea that the Guards were purposefully planning ahead for this year, it’s worth noting that the other teams that lead this revolutionary new metric are just generally bad teams. Behind the first-place Guardians, the Rockies, Royals, Diamondbacks, and Brewers round out the top five. After that come the Orioles, Giants, Cubs, and Pirates.