Cuba’s Possible Semifinal Opponents Clash

HAVANA TIMES, March 14 — Team Cuba is settled into San Diego for the second round of the World Baseball Classic. The Cubans first game is Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET against Japan, in a rematch of the 2006 WBC championship game won by the Asians, 10-6.

Cuba qualified along with Mexico, Japan and Korea for Pool 1 of the WBC Round Two. Pool 2 consists of Team USA, The Netherlands, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Playing double elimination as in round one, the top two teams in each pool will reach the semifinals in Los Angeles on March 21-22. The final match takes place on the 23rd also in L.A.

The Mexicans —coming off a 16-4 whopping by Cuba— play their second round double elimination opener against Korea, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Champions, also on Sunday at 11:00 p.m. ET.

Pool 2 play starts on Saturday in Miami with The Netherlands playing Venezuela at 1:00 ET. The Dutch team was the big surprise from round one after eliminating the powerful Dominican Republic by beating them twice 3-2 and 2-1.

The other game today involves what many consider the toughest two teams of the group, USA and Puerto Rico. Play begins at 8:00 p.m. ET.

While Team Cuba has the “day off” to practice and plan its strategy for the game against Japan, the players and coaches will no doubt be all eyes watching their potential semifinal rivals playing in Miami.

To follow Cuba at the World Baseball Classic visit Peter C. Bjarkman’s Havana Times WBC Diary at: