The 2023 World Baseball Classic is fully underway and predictably action-packed. The first round features four five-team pools and each team plays every other team in its pool once. The teams with the two best records in each pool advance to the quarterfinals. From there, it's essentially a single-elimination eight-team tournament. Here is the full WBC schedule and here is everything you need to know about this year's event.
Here are our takeaways from USA's loss against Mexico on Sunday night, and here's everything you need to know about the rest of Sunday's and early Monday morning's WBC action.
- Korea 22, China 2 (box score)
- Australia 8, Czech Republic 3 (box score)
- Israel 3, Nicaragua 1 (box score)
- Canada 18, Great Britain 8 (box score)
- Great Britain 7, Colombia 5 (box score)
Advanced to quarterfinals
- Chinese Taipei
Great Britain stuns Colombia
Great Britain has its first ever World Baseball Classic win. The Brits upset Colombia on Monday afternoon thanks largely to 20-year-old outfielder Jaden Rudd. The Blue Jays minor leaguer doubled in two runs in the fifth inning to give Great Britain its first lead of the game. Colombia took an early 3-0 lead and Great Britain stormed all the way back.
Right-hander Ian Gibaut, who to this point was best known for throwing at Fernando Tatis Jr. after he hit in a grand slam in a 3-0 count in 2020, recorded the final three outs for Great Britain. It is a landmark win for a country with a nascent baseball program.
The win is Great Britain's first ever in the WBC -- they earned a spot in the tournament in a qualifying event last fall -- and it also is a massive help to USA. Colombia's loss means USA controls its own destiny despite getting blown out by Mexico on Sunday. Beat Canada on Monday and Colombia on Wednesday (Tuesday is an off-day), and the Americans advance to the second round. It's quite simple. Now, if USA loses to Canada on Monday, then things get a lot more complicated.
Australia became the fourth team to advance to the quarterfinal round overnight Sunday, defeating Czech Republic by an 8-3 score. Australia will now play Cuba in the next round, with the winner advancing to the semifinals.
The Australians jumped ahead early, with Alex Hall delivering a solo home run with one out in the top of the first. Czech Republic tied the game on an Eric Sogard RBI single in the third, and the two sides would remain even until the seventh. That's when Australia started to pull away on extra-base hits from Logan Wade and the aforementioned Hall that helped build a 6-1 lead.
Czech Republic did get two back in the bottom of the eighth, making it a 6-3 contest, but Australia tacked on another two in the top of the ninth, giving them what proved to be an insurmountable 8-3 margin.
Pool B play is now complete. Japan won the pool with a 4-0 showing; Australia finished as the runner-up with a 3-1 mark; and Korea (2-2) and Czech Republic (1-3) both avoided relegation. That leaves one team, China, back on the qualifying circuit ahead of the 2026 WBC. More on them later.
Team USA loses to Mexico
We highlighted Team USA's loss to Mexico on Sunday night in the introduction, but a lot of people tend to skip the introduction so we'll bring it up again now. (Do note that you can read our full takeaways from Sunday night's game by clicking here.)
The Americans fell behind early, with Mexico building a 7-1 lead through four innings. Another offensive outburst in the eighth saw Mexico take an 11-2 edge that left them just one run shy of triggering the mercy rule. (Said rule is prompted either by a lead of 15 runs or more through five, and 10 runs or more through seven.) Team USA would get three runs back in the bottom of the eighth, with Bobby Witt Jr. and Tim Anderson providing some extra-base entertainment, but that wasn't enough to avoid an 11-5 loss.
Perez has historic game for Venezuela
Royals catcher Salvador Perez had a fine Sunday at the park against Puerto Rico, going 4 for 4 with a home run and five runs batted in as part of a 9-6 victory. In the process, Perez became the first player in WBC history since Ken Griffey Jr. in 2006 to notch at least four hits and five RBIs in a game. Perez also became the second catcher to have three extra-base hits in a single WBC contest, joining Iván Rodríguez, according to ESPN's research.
A look at Salvador Pérez going home to 2nd on his double. Big man was movin' 💪 pic.twitter.com/z3BRcU8iWb— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 13, 2023
Perez plated the first run of the night with an RBI single in the first. He then hit a three-run homer in the second that gave Venezuela a commanding 7-0 lead. Perez would add one more run for good measure in the fifth with a double that extended the lead to 9-1. Puerto Rico would get five runs back over the rest of the game, but it didn't impact the result, with Venezuela moving to 2-0 in pool play and positioning themselves to advance.
Israel rallies to beat Nicaragua
Israel and Nicaragua have the toughest draw in the WBC. They're stuck in Pool D with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, three of the most talented teams in the tournament. To have any chance to advance, Israel and Nicaragua needed a win in their head-to-head matchup, and that was especially true for Nicaragua following Saturday's loss to Puerto Rico.
On Sunday, the underdog Nicaragua took a one-run lead in the eighth inning against Israel and handed the ball to Yankees reliever Jonathan Loáisiga, their best player. It was the situation they wanted. It did not work out. Israel rallied for three runs against Loaisiga, with Phillies backup catcher Garrett Stubbs providing the go-ahead two-strike, two-out, two-run double.
Stubbs played third base for Israel, it should be noted. He had never previously played third base. Not in college and not in pro ball, and his career started back in 2015. Stubbs had two hits in the game. Joc Pederson contributed a double and Orioles righty Dean Kremer fired four scoreless innings. Nicaragua has been held to two runs and eight hits in two WBC games.
Israel is 1-0 and will face Puerto Rico on Monday. Nicaragua is 0-2 and a long shot to advance out of pool play. Their best case now is not finishing in last place in Pool D and avoiding relegation.
As noted above, China finished in fifth in Pool B, meaning they'll have to qualify in advance of the 2026 tournament. They went 0-4 in pool play, losing by an average of 10 runs. To be fair, that number is skewed by a 22-2 thrashing Monday morning from Korea. Still, take a look at their slate:
- China 1, Japan 8
- China 5, Czech Republic 8
- China 2, Australia 12
- China 2, Korea 22
China is the second team to be relegated to the qualifying circuit this WBC.