Today saw the first games of the Western side of the World Baseball Classic with Mexico taking a surprising loss against team Italia and the Dominican Republic showing their dominance against team Venezuela. The latter match featured the first two Indians to play in this year's classic. The wildness inherent in these early round games featuring low level pitchers was evident in the two Tribesmen's results. Carlos Santana and Asdrubal Cabrera combined for six walks and two runs scored. Santana had the lion's share of the walks and now leads all WBC players (including those from the Eastern series that have already played three games) with four.
Santana played the entire game as the Dominican Republic's starting catcher while Cabrera played DH with Elvis Andrus taking the start at short. Andrus and Cabrera will likely split time in the field for the rest of the series while Santana will probably get a day off against either Puerto Rico or Spain. This game marks the first time this Spring either player has stayed in a game past the 5th inning so some care is warranted by their country teams.
Tomorrow, Mike Aviles and Giovanny Soto will play their first game for team Puerto Rico against Spain while Canada and the USA will open up against Italy and Mexico respectively. Puerto Rico is essentially in a must win situation to start the series as both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela are expected to get at least 2 wins, meaning Puerto Rico must win against Spain and one of the other two juggernauts just to hope for tie.