On Saturday, the Americans were pushed to their limit by Venezuela in the Quarterfinals, surviving thanks to a late Trea Turner grand slam to secure a 9-7 victory. Sunday’s Semifinal against Cuba was much less stressful, as the United States scored in each of the first six innings on their way to a 14-2 win. Turner homered twice more while Paul Goldschmidt paced the offense with four key runs batted in.
Photo Cred: Rolling Stone
Longtime St. Louis Cardinal Adam Wainwright made his second start of the tournament for the USA. It was against a lineup consisting of numerous Cuban MLB players and World Baseball Classic veterans. His outing did not start to plan as the first four Cuban batters reached base, but Wainwright eventually settled in and provided his team and nation with four solid innings of work.
Miles Mikolas followed another St. Louis Cardinal, who contributed four innings and gave up just one run. 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts got things going for the American offense. He had lead-off double in the bottom of the first, trailing 1-0. Goldschmidt then pulled an inside fastball over the left field fence to give the USA the lead, which they never gave back.
Photo Cred: NBC Chicago
Trea Turner, who has won a World Series, called his game-winning grand slam against Venezuela the night before the home run of his life, exemplifying the meaningfulness of the World Baseball Classic. On the first pitch he saw against Cuba, Turner again left the yard to give the USA a 3-1 lead. The star-studded offense scored two runs in the next three innings to take a commanding 9-2 lead. A four-run USA 6th inning, highlighted by Trea Turner’s second home run, put the game out of reach for the Cubans. Turner’s performances over the last two games; put him in a prime position to win the MVP of the tournament if the United States can win it.
Photo Cred: USA Today
The game was in Miami at the home of the Miami Marlins. Miami also plays home to a large Cuban population. It made for a loud and exciting atmosphere on Sunday. The city will also host the second Semifinal game on Monday. It’ll be between Japan and Mexico. The winner advances to play defending champion USA in the World Baseball Classic final. Mexico has already defeated the USA in the pool play of the tournament.
Photo Cred: Yahoo Sports
Japan has yet to lose a game in the 2023 tournament. They are led by 2021 AL MVP Shohei Ohtani, who stars on the mound and at the plate. USA Manager Mark Derosa says Merrill Kelly of the Arizona Diamondbacks the likely starter on the mound in the final. The USA looks to win their second consecutive World Baseball Classic.