Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic
  • This is a Huge Night for Luis Urías, Rowdy Tellez, Baseball in México, and Yes, the Brewers

    Matthew Trueblood

    On Monday at 6 PM Central, México takes on Japan in the second semifinal of the World Baseball Classic. It's a huge moment for the sport, for both countries, and for the players involved, which include two key Brewers hitters.

    Image courtesy of © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

    Brewers Video

    Just as Japan's national baseball team has a name--Samurai Japan, an indication of the seriousness and earnestness of their endeavor--they use in international competition, México uses Novena México--the México Nine. It's a reinforcement of the sense of teamwork and selflessness to which the club aspires, and that spirit has been on display throughout their improbable run to the final two days of this tournament. Luis Urías and Rowdy Tellez have been right in the middle of it all, and they get another chance to gel with their teammates and forge a miniature miracle on Monday night.

    The Brewers couldn't hope for a better way to prepare these two for the regular season. Not only have they played in high-energy, high-stakes atmospheres, but they've had to grind out at-bats against tough same-handed pitchers with high-level stuff. Tonight, they'll see one of the most talented and electrifying pitchers on Earth, as Roki Sasaki toes the rubber for Japan. Sasaki, 21, has a fastball that can push past 100 miles per hour, and his splitter is one of the nastiest offspeed pitches in the world. Last season, he had 173 strikeouts and issued just 23 walks in 129 innings over 20 starts in NPB, with a 2.02 ERA. He also did this:

    Tellez is the designated hitter for Novena México, and will hit cleanup for them, as he has throughout the tournament. Urías plays second and bats sixth.

    Every round of advancement a team achieves in the WBC is worth a mid-six-figure payment to the country's baseball federation. That means that, from a purely financial perspective, it has already been good for México to get this far into the competition for the first time. If they make it to the finals, they could end up with a total purse north of $2 million, but far more importantly, this run of success has already boosted the profile of the sport in México. Soccer still rules there, but baseball has always had a strong foothold, and this moment has deepened and broadened its popularity. 

    Samurai Japan has to be the favorite. Even with impressive young Angels starter (and, perhaps, Shohei Ohtani- and Lars Nootbaar-neutralizing lefty) Patrick Sandoval on the mound, Novena México faces a tall task. The ace potential of Sasaki and the firepower of the Japanese lineup are both formidable. They've not only won every game they have played, but largely dominated. They've outscored their opponents 47-11. No one even expected México to get this far, and doing so required upsetting the United States in pool play and coming from behind to beat Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals.

    Tellez and Urías were crucial in the winning rally that night. They have a chance to do something special again Monday night. In Catholic tradition, a novena is a series of special prayers and requests for intercession performed over nine days. Today is the 10th day since the start of this magical run by Novena México. Standing like David before a baseball Goliath, the team (led by Tellez and Urías) will hope to answer the prayers of a nation of baseball fans--one that extends far beyond the borders of the physical country. This tournament is an awesome thing for baseball, and tonight offers an opportunity for Brewers fans to put themselves in an October state of mind a week before the season even begins.

    Think you could write a story like this? Brewer Fanatic wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    — Latest Brewers coverage from our writers
    — Recent Brewers discussion in our forums
    — Follow Brewer Fanatic via Twitter, Facebook or email

    • Like 1

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    I will add this. Mexico is definitely the best team that Japan has faced in this tournament and Japan is probably slightly worse than the US team that Mexico beat. This is also, I believe, Sasaki's first time ever pitching stateside. Will be an awesome game. I think Japan should be the favorites, but would not at all be surprised with a Mexico upset.

    • Like 2
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I pull for whatever team has no Cardinals or the fewest Cardinals … I was rooting for Mexico against the USA & I will pull for them tonight against Japan too. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...