Venezuela's 2-0 win over Puerto Rico on Monday was exciting on so many levels, with Felix Hernandez striking out seven and Ramon Hernandez hitting a homer, initially ruled a triple, to help their country advance to the semifinals in the Classic.
Despite appearances, the first use of instant replay in the World Baseball Classic never materialized on Monday night in the Venezuela-Puerto Rico game at Dolphin Stadium.
A major reason Venezuela is facing Puerto Rico on Monday night at Dolphin Stadium is because it executed defensively in beating the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.
Carlos Silva limited The Netherlands to one run on four hits in seven innings, and Venezuela pulled out a 3-1 victory powered by homers by Miguel Cabrera and Jose Lopez.
Miguel Cabrera has distinguished himself at the plate during his career, but mentor Andres Galarraga feels he can be a great defensive first baseman as well.
While the Venezuelan lineup features big names such as Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and Bobby Abreu, it was the lesser-known players that led the team's offense in the first round.
Team USA not only expected to visit Miami this weekend but has aspirations beyond just a few more games in South Florida. The World Baseball Classic clubs from Puerto Rico and Venezuela, both stocked amply with Major League talent, can say the same thing.
After beating the mighty USA on Wednesday to become the winners of Pool C, Team Venezuela is carrying a lot of confidence with it into Miami for Round 2 of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Venezuela exacted revenge on the USA on Wednesday for its Sunday loss, winning, 5-3. As the Pool C winner, the Venezuelans will face The Netherlands on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.
Team Venezuela will meet the U.S. at Rogers Centre on Wednesday to determine the winner of Pool C at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The tilt, which will be the final game played in the first round in Toronto, is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.