WBC 2017: Israel not the ugly duckling after all


Most, if not all predictions (including the one made by this blog) about the final standings in group A can be scratched.  Didn’t everybody pick Israel to finish last?
After a stunning win vs Korea yesterday, team Israel completed the upset by routing Taiwan 15-7 today

Today’s game was exactly the opposite compared to yesterday’s game in which both teams had a hard time scoring runs. Today Israel slugged its way to the victory.

With a solid AA/AAA pitcher on the mound for Israel, the team jumped on the Taiwanese pitching and outhit Taiwan 20-12 with four extra basehits.
Taiwan started the game with Chun-Lin Kuo on the mound. He played for the Seibu Lions of the NPB in the past two seasons. Those two seasons weren’t quite a success with ERAs of 5.31 (2015) and 8.46 (2016) and WHIPs of 1.682 and 1.701.
It showed as Israel jumped on Chun-Lin Kuo in the first inning as they collected four hits and scored two runs before he could record the first out. By the time the final out was made, Chun-Lin Kuo was replaced and the damage was done already as Israel had taken a 4-0 lead.

After Israel scored two runs on a homerun by Ryan Lavarnway in the third inning, Taiwan’s fate was sealed in the seventh inning when Israel scored five more runs.

Of course Taiwan didn’t go down without a fight. They rallied in the sixth and in the ninth to score three and four runs respectively. 

Like it was written in the intro of this blog post, all those who predicted Israel to finish last are very wrong. Manager Jerry Weinstein managed to create a balanced team with a good mix of (former) Major League players (4) and Minor Leaguers (AAA, AA and single A) with a couple of pitchers with at least AAA experience.
It reminds me of the 2013 Dutch team. The cinderella team. A good mix of players that was brought by their manager to become a real team. Jerry Weinstein is doing exactly the same.

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