By: Elie Gelman
Israel not only fell 10-0 to a talented Puerto Rico team they were also the victims of the World Baseball Classics first ever perfect game. The blue-and-white are now 1-1 in pool play and look to keep their WBC dreams alive when they take on the Dominican Republic on Tuesday night.
When asked about any positives that could be taken from Monday night’s loss manager Ian Kinsler said, “Not too many, tomorrow we have a bunch of bullpen arms ready to throw so probably that’s the only positive.”
It was a historic performance for Puerto Rico as they threw the first perfect game in World Baseball Classic history. Israel failed to tally a single hit and did not have a base runner for the entire game.
The Puerto Rico offense was clicking on all cylinders when in the bottom of the eighth center fielder Kike Hernandez hit a single to left field bringing in his nation’s 10th run of the night which ended the game due to the 10-run 8th inning mercy rule.
“No, I wasn’t surprised,” Kinsler said about the historic performance. “They have really good players there, they are aggressive swingers, they swing the bats well. Just left too many pitches over the middle of the plate. As far as the pitching performance, any time there is a no-hitter or anything of that sort it’s impressive.”
Israel will bury this game in the past as they ready for another crucial contest versus the Dominican Republic. “It’s got to go down the drain quickly, “said Kinsler. “You got to flush it down the drain. When you get in the shower, it all goes down the drain and you just got to get ready for tomorrow. This tournament comes at you quick. We have another game tomorrow that is really important so the faster we can forget about this one the better.”
Today’s game will be a rematch of the first round of the 2020 Summer Olympics where the Dominican Republic won a close 7-6 clash thanks to a walk-off single by José Bautista. “We earned a lot of respect from the Dominican team in the Olympics,” said Kinsler. “There’s definitely some comradery there between the two teams, and understanding tomorrow we are playing a baseball game we are gonna be competitive but there a very good relationship that got developed there”
Right-hander Jacob Steinmetz will start on the mound for Israel in the pivotal matchup. In 2021 Steinmetz became the first Orthodox Jew to be selected in the MLB draft when the Arizona Diamondbacks selected him in the third round. The young pitcher will have his work cut out for him in his WBC debut as he will be pitching to some of the MLB’s best hitters including Rafael Devers, Manny Machado, Jeremy Peña, and Juan Soto.