Jose Bautista Batters Canada in Dominican's Predictable WBC Rout
Bautista torched his adopted country, leading the Dominicans to a 9-2 victory over Canada to kick off Pool C play at the World Baseball Classic.
Photo by Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Any tiny glimmer of hope that Canada had of advancing through the opening round of the 2017 World Baseball Classic was likley destroyed by one of its adopted sons.
Toronto Blue Jays slugger and part-time Canadian resident Jose Bautista took a big shit all over Team Canada's tournament chances on Thursday as the six-time All Star went 3-for-4 at the plate while scoring once and driving in four. Bautista singled in a run in the second, singled again in the fifth, and capped off his performance with a three-run bomb in the sixth off Dustin Molleken.
Another former Blue Jay, Jose Reyes, also did his part in the blowout, going 3-for-5 at the dish and scoring twice, while Welington Castillo's two-run homer came in a disastrous second inning for the Canadians when the Dominicans generated six hits and scored four runs off starting pitcher Ryan Dempster.
Dempster, a 16-year major league veteran, came out of retirement this year at the age of 39 to pitch for Canada. As expected, he was pretty awful in his first game since the 2013 World Series, taking the loss while lasting only two innings and giving up seven hits and four runs, all of them earned. Andrew Albers looked the strongest of all Canadian hurlers on the night, throwing two scoreless innings and allowing a hit and two walks after taking over for Dempster to start the third. Over the final five innings, Canada's pitchers—Jim Henderson, Kevin Chapman, Molleken, Scott Mathieson, Rowan Wick—combined to give up seven hits and five runs while striking out two.
Dempster's counterpart Carlos Martinez threw four strong innings in first career WBC start, giving up one run on three hits. Fernando Rodney struck out two in the ninth—and busted out a gigantic plantain during the opening ceremonies—while New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia got the final out for the Dominicans, who look poised to repeat as champions after their dominant 8-0 march to the 2013 WBC championship. Manager Tony Pena, who led the club to its last title, said before the start of the tournament that he thinks his team is better on paper this year than it was four years ago.
The Canadians are in danger of being eliminated in the opening round for the fourth time in as many WBCs, and face Colombia and the USA on Saturday and Sunday—needing at least one, but probably two, upset wins to have any chance of advancing through the group stage. The DR has games Saturday and Sunday against the US and Columbia as well, but (unlike Canada) controls its own fate after a big opening-game win.
Good news for Canadian baseball fans? Jose Bautista's swing looks better than ever as he appears to be priming up for a monster season with the Blue Jays. The bad news for Canadian baseball fans? The senior national team is a mess.