Round two starts with a game in the San Juan Region between longtime international power Cuba, runnerup in Pool C versus the strong pitching of Venezuela, the runnerup in Pool D.
Cuban manager Higinio Velez, still smarting from a 12-2 pounding by Puerto Rico on Friday, has held off on naming a starting pitcher. The only player you can bank on is second baseman Yulieski Gourriel, who has been Cuba's hitting star in the tournament. He's 4 for 11, but he has two doubles and a home run. Third baseman Michel Enriquez has been hit by pitches four times.
Venezuelan manager Luis Sojo isn't as secretive. He will be sending out Johán Santana as his starting pitcher. Santana gave up two runs, one earned, in 3 1/3 innings against the Dominican Republic. Venezuela's offense has been sputtering a bit considering its level of competition. After scoring five runs against the Dominican Republic, Venezuela scored six against Italy and only two against Australia, despite receiving 12 walks. Venezuela's pitchers gave up just three hits to Italy and Australia.
Cuba won its opener, 8-6 in 11 innings against Panamá and cruised 8-3 past the Netherlands, before Puerto Rico took them to school Friday.
Cuba is going to need to find a pitcher who can hold down Venezuela and somehow find a way to score against Santana, who is a far better pitcher than anyone pitching in Cuba right now.
FINAL SCORE Cuba 7, Venezuela 2
WP - Yadel Marti
LP - Johan Santana
Save - Pedro Luis Lazo
HRs - Frederich Cepeda, Ariel Pestano, Endy Chavez
Cuba manages to scratch one run off of Santana through five innings and then Venezuelan manager Luis Sojo opts to bring in Giovanni Carrara to relieve. Cuba pounces on him for five runs to break the game open and give Cuba a surprising win.