They had an all-star lineup which included a couple Pittsburgh Pirates in Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco. Team USA's pitchers held Puerto Rico to three hits in the entire contest. Stroman quieted a Puerto Rico team that had been white-hot while the U.S. lineup built up a 4-0 lead. Set next to the average 11.9 million viewers tuning into NCAA games across CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV through Sunday, it's clear that "the tournament" this time of year isn't baseball's tournament. In all, Stroman struck out three, walked one and gave up only the one hit, throwing 73 pitches.
Congratulations to Team USA. They lost to the Dominican Republic, a team they eliminated in this year's semifinal, in 2013. That's not taking anything away from them. "We heard and we saw T-shirts were made and printed out for the Puerto Rican team".
Stroman could have played in this WBC for either team, since his mother is of Puerto Rican heritage, but said that had nothing to do with his inspiration Wednesday.
He proudly displayed each one separately, reminding everyone from the island to The Island and beyond what he and his fellow Americans had just accomplished. After playing in the rain for almost nine innings, Team USA advanced to the finals by a score of 2-1.
For his efforts in tonight's game and throughout the tournament, Stroman was named tournament MVP.
It may be hard to imagine, but Puerto Rico does not have baseball programs in its high schools, as manager Edwin Rodriguez noted early in the tournament. Meanwhile, Team USA slowly built a lead.
He surrendered his first hit in the seventh, to leadoff hitter Angel Pagan, on his 73rd and final pitch.
Stories have been written about how Puerto Rico stores have run out of hair dye as citizens have rushed to get the bleach-blond look the players have been sporting the past few weeks. Instead, Sam Dyson surrendered nothing more in the inning, and the Americans added another run in the top of the eighth.
The Americans won the title in their first trip to the final, which was a rematch of a second-round game Friday in which the U.S. rallied late but lost 6-5. His decision to pitch for the USA has led to a rough time online for mom, but I bet it's all worth it now, after six no-hit innings and a tournament MVP award.
The problem with that statement is it makes it sound like there's a right way to play the game and kids should emulate the American style of play. Stroman told reporters on the field underneath a snowfall of confetti. Instead, he helped Team USA beat them 8-0, making up for a awful second-round performance against the island team in which he gave up six straight singles and four first-inning runs.
Stroman had plenty of help behind 8 U.S. runs on 13 hits. Puerto Rico had a young, power arm in Jose Berrios on the mound. He did finish strong, however, posting a 3.28 ERA over the last two months of the regular season. He earned himself a walk on the fourth offering.