The hard-hitting Dominican squad went down meekly Sunday night in a 7-1 loss to Puerto Rico, while Cuba, whom most people (people like me) thought to be overmatched, clobbered Venezuela 7-2.
So the D.R. squad is faced with a game it cannot afford to lose. Odalis Perez gets the call to start in this one. Cuba's starter remains a mystery. All we do know is that it won't be Yadel Marti or Pedro Lazo, both of whom have to sit for the rest of the second round because of pitch limits.
Perez is an emotional pitcher and D.R. manager Manny Acta is going to need to reign him and also advise him to not start out every Cuban hitter with a fast ball, as the Cubans jump on those with great relish.
Whomever gets the start for Cuba will have his hands full. The D.R. bats fell silent Sunday night, but the likes of Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, and Adrian Beltré won't stay quiet for long. Beltré is tied with Korea's Seong Yeop Lee for the WBC high in home runs with four.
Although second baseman Yulieski Gourriel has been impressing MLB scouts with his play, the big hitter for Cuba has been DH Yoandy (or Yoandry) Garlobo, who is 6 for 11 in the WBC.
Dominican Republic 7, Cuba 3
WP -- Odalis Perez
LP -- Vicyohandry Odelin
Save -- Fernando Rodney
HRs -- David Ortiz (his 3rd), Yulieski Gourriel (his 2nd)
The Dominican Republic bounced back from a disappointing loss to win fairly easily over Cuba. The D.R. squad parlayed two crucial errors by Cuba into three unearned runs.
Michel Enriquez of Cuba had a day to forget. He went 0 for 4, grounded into two double plays, lined into a third double play and made an error.