The World Baseball Classic wrapped up on Wednesday night with the undefeated Team Puerto Rico taking on USA. These two teams met on Friday and Puerto Rico took a 6-5 victory. The tables were turned on Wednesday though, as the United States picked up their first WBC title with an 8-0 victory.

Andrew McCutchen had two RBI singles in this game, giving USA a 4-0 lead in the fifth, then extending the lead to 8-0 in the eighth inning. Toronto starter Marcus Stroman had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning. Three relievers finished out the final three innings for the win.

McCutchen went 2-for-4 with a walk in this game and finished the entire WBC by going 5-for-21, driving in five runs in six games. Four of his five hits results in runs scored. Josh Harrison played just two games and batted five times without a hit.

Marcus Stroman was named the WBC MVP.

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  1. I sort of thought so, but I wanted to take that opportunity to mention the OTHER salary flexibility candidate that nobody, other than the Pirates, seems to want.

  2. I watched the entire tournament with avid excitement. Was anyone else disappointed with the way our country perceives it? I saw little to none of the fandom represented by Japan, Puerto Rico or Dominica. Nobody really seemed to care… to watch or play.

    • “Nobody really seemed to care…”

      Could be true of our country in about a million subject areas.

      Personally, I loved it. Every minute of it.

  3. I wonder if Harrison will struggle after sitting on his butt for much of this tourney? Seems like it wasn’t really in his best interest to go

    • In a strictly professional way it might have neen slightly better for him to have stayed in ST and gotten extra reps. In terms of the bigger picture of life I’m sure he’ll tell far more stories to his future grandkids about the WBC than about taking extra grounders on back fields in Florida.

  4. We all hope Cutch has a great start and shows his level of play is still very good. But he is a goner through trade or simply not extending his contract. My guess is the Bucs will want to realize a return with a trade.

  5. I’m glad he finished strong during the WBC. Hopefully it will help Cutch get off to a good start in the regular season.

    • Let’s not forget that ‘Cutch found his stroke in the last 2 months of 2016 – in his last 200+ AB he had a slash of .284/.380/.471/.851. Specifically, 8 doubles, 2 triples, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 34 Walks and only 36 K’s.

      It was very important that he turned it around when the Pirates were fighting for the playoffs down the stretch. I think he is healthier now going into 2017 than he has been the past two years, and he knows that his future is on the line. It appears that future will definitely be in another location. Possibly history will repeat itself and he can find a spot in the OF in San Francisco.

      • One of the baseball shows, I can’t recall which one, showed a difference in Cutch’s hands in his batting stance. When he was bad Cutch, his hands were very close to his body and he was late a lot of times. During his turn around last season, and he’s still doing it in the WBC, his hands started farther away from his body and it seems it has helped his timing.

        • I did not see it, but most hitting instructors will advocate keeping the hands in and extending the barrel out into the zone.

          A lot of hitters who extend their hands away from the body are pull hitters – in the case of a RH hitter pulling everything to LF. Staying in (keeping the hands in) and extending the barrel usually results in using the whole field, and hitting the ball where it is pitched.

          With ‘Cutch, when I see him driving the ball to LC, CF, and RC, I know he is seeing the ball all the way to the bat, and hitting that center plate to outer third pitch the opposite way.

          Other reasons – I also thought that getting drilled in the ribs off one of the D’backs pitchers cost him parts of two seasons physically, and getting married prior to the 2016 season cost him emotionally and took a slight edge off his usual very intense concentration level. Taking a partner to share your life with can have that effect.

    • Hopefully the opposite happens and US gets more of the best players. It was actually quite embarrassing for baseball in this country that it took four tries for the US just to make the finals. They had a strong team this time, but they could have been so much better. Even if some people don’t like it, they still get their way because it’s only once every four years, so whatever your problem is with the WBC, you don’t have to worry about it for awhile. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire tournament. Some great games and of course, you can’t beat the finish. Very exciting baseball at a time when usually nothing is happening in camp.

      • I loved it too. After this year I’m thinking some more star power will join next time around. Let’s get the trout’s and harpers of this world involved. I wonder if Cutch would have played if he didn’t have a down year last year?

      • I agree John. The general consensus has been that the MLB players that have participated in this years and in previous years WBC tournaments have enjoyed being a part of the atmosphere of the tournament. What shocked me was that Cuba got knocked out of the tournament and Israel advanced out of the first round in their pool. Also South Korea not advancing as far as in past tournaments was a bit puzzling, but we know where some of that blame lies, don’t we? Then you have a team such as the Netherlands which has not been notoriously known for baseball put up back-to back relatively successful tournament runs. Same goes with Puerto Rico. They’ve been the runner up now two tournaments in a row. Did anyone else see (and I’m a bit surprised that P2 hasn’t really picked up on it yet) that Gregory Polanco was named to the All-WBC tournament team for this year. Why do some people want this WBC tournament to die? Because it’s not affiliated with the Olympics. With a tournament like this, I think it may eventually bring MLB closer to a true international draft.

        I like the fact that this tournament offers something worthwhile to follow in March besides the Mens & Womens college basketball tournaments. I think it makes a nice pre-cursor to the MLB regular season. Any chance that it could be held more frequently in the future. From what I gather, the next one is scheduled for 2021, but it’s been suggested that with baseball due back in the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 that we could see some change on the Olympic front as far as MLB players playing in the Olympics. There was a joint press conference between MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA exec Tony Clark last evening before the championship game and I believe they were asked about the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and they were non-committal as of now.

        • I did see the Polanco announcement early this afternoon, but didn’t think it was enough for an article. I should have just added it to this recap. If another Pirate made the team, I probably would have put up a small article. Polanco definitely deserved the recognition, he played a great tournament.

    • With Meadows looking ready, that means the Pirates have 4 excellent outfielders – playing time & salary issues. But, Liriano was the salary flexibility guy with the Pirates chopping $18 mil off the ’16/’17 payroll.

      The next salary flexibility unload should be Josh Harrison who we owe $18 mil over ’17/’18. The Pirates have tried, but nobody seems to want JHay at that price – the Pirates will probably have to sweeten the deal.

      • I’m not convinced the Pirates need to unload JHay. Given Kang’s situation, JHay is a valuable commodity right now.

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