The 2013 World Baseball Classic got underway at the start of last weekend, with Pool A competing in Fukuoka, Japan and Pool B competing in Taichung, Taiwan.
Pool A, highlighted by the two-time defending WBC champion Japan, along with Brazil, Cuba, and China. The first round (round robin) format advances two teams into the second round, after all teams have played each other one time. Japan and Cuba won both of their games over the weekend and will be the two teams advancing out of Pool A, but still have to face-off on Wednesday, March 6th. (5 a.m. ET: MLB Network.)
The weekend just wasn’t enough time to decide which two teams would be advancing out of Pool B, with South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Netherlands, and Australia still competing for those two spots on the final day of Pool B play. Chinese Taipei is the only unbeaten (2-0) team in Pool B, after defeating Australia 4-1 and Netherlands 8-3. South Korea; (1-1), Netherlands; (1-1), and Australia; (0-2).
Realistically, all four of these teams still have a chance to advance into the next round.
Chinese Taipei could clinch a spot into the second round with a win over South Korea tonight, which would make things a lot easier for them. If they lose to South Korea and Netherlands beats Australia things can get complicated. That would set up a three-way tiebreaker between all of those 2-1 teams. They could also advance if they lose to South Korea, but Australia beats Netherlands, which would leave them and South Korea with 2-1 records.
Three-way tie-breakers are determined by “Team Quality Balance,” which is the sum of runs scored divided by the number of innings played on offense, minus runs allowed divided by number of innings played on defense.
Formula form: (RS/IPO)-(RA/IPD)=TQB
(I still hate math.)
Australia lost both of their games over the weekend against Chinese Taipei and South Korea. They still have a very slim chance at advancing, but need South Korea to lose to Chinese Taipei and would need an extremely impressive win over the Netherlands to win a three-way tiebreaker with the three 1-2 teams.
The Netherlands started off Pool play with a shocking 5-0 win over South Korea, but lost their second game against Chinese Taipei. This team could advance into the second round with a win over Australia tonight and a South Korea loss. They could also advance with a loss, South Korea loss, and win the three-way tiebreaker between all the 1-2 teams. If they beat Australia and South Korea beats Chinese Taipei then they would be in a three-way tie-breaker with the three 2-1 teams.
South Korea beat Australia 6-0 and lost to the Netherlands over the weekend. This South Korea team could advance with a win over Chinese Taipei and a Netherlands loss to Australia. They could also advance with a loss, Netherlands loss, and win the three-way tiebreaker between the 1-2 teams. The three-way tie-breaker could also occur if they beat Chinese Taipei and Netherlands beats Australia, which would leave three teams with 2-1 records.
Those are the possible scenarios that will determine which two teams are advancing out of Pool B. The final day of Pool B is underway now and by the end of it two of these teams will come out with a free trip to the second round in Tokyo, Japan.
Australia vs. Netherlands
11:30 p.m. ET. (MLB Network)
Chinese Taipei vs. South Korea
6:30 a.m. ET. (MLB Network)
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