Come Monday night it’s plausible Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Kiké Hernandez and Kenley Jansen will at minimum take the field at Dodger Stadium, and potentially go head-to-head in a semifinal game of the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
What’s more, the Dodgers are guaranteed to be represented when the 2017 WBC final is played on Wednesday in their home ballpark. Netherlands (runner-up) advanced out of Pool E, along with Japan, to reach the championship round of the WBC at Dodger Stadium.
By edging the United States, 6-5, at Petco Park on Friday night, Puerto Rico punched their ticket to the semifinals as the winners of Pool F, and are set for a matchup with Netherlands on Monday.
Puerto Rico routed Venezuela in a meaningless game on Saturday to remain undefeated (6-0) in WBC play this year. Hernandez joined his fellow countrymen after appearing in just seven Cactus League games with the Dodgers.
He went 5-for-19 in those contests, with one double, three walks and four strikeouts. Hernandez did end his time on a high note, putting together consecutive multi-hit games.
Some viewed the decision to join Puerto Rico as a risk considering Hernandez is in the thick of a competition with Charlie Culberson and Chris Taylor to earn one of the remaining bench spots on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster.
Hernandez has four hits, including one triple, one run scored and two RBI in 11 at-bats over four games with Puerto Rico.
Jansen, who’s standing with the Dodgers is firmly secure, once again pitched to mixed results in his latest appearance against the Seattle Mariners on Friday night. He struck out a pair but also allowed two hits and issued one walk, exiting with the bases loaded.
Jansen failed to complete one inning of work in each of his past two outings, and owns an 8.10 ERA in four Cactus League games. He’s eager to trade in the mundane nature of Spring Training for the electric World Baseball Classic atmosphere.
The power closer was included on Netherlands; designated pitcher pool, but had said he was not interested in participating in the WBC. Jansen began to soften on that stance once it became possible for Netherlands to reach the semifinals, and it ultimately was enough to coax the 29-year-old into donning the country’s black and orange uniform.
With their loss to Puerto Rico, USA was on the brink of elimination Saturday night, but advanced to the semifinals by beating defending champion Dominican Republic, 6-3. The U.S. team will now face Japan at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.
Their victory at Petco Park was redemption of sorts for Team USA, as they blew a 5-0 lead to the Dominican Republic during Pool C play at Marlins Park on March 11.