Cuba's baseball past is cemented. And it seems its future remains a work in progress after a 5-0 loss to Japan on Wednesday knocked Cuba from the World Baseball Classic.
On Wednesday, Japan defeated Cuba, 5-0, to eliminate the country from the World Baseball Classic for the second consecutive time.
On Wednesday, Japan and Cuba will face off again in San Diego, with the winner qualifying for the World Baseball Classic semifinals.
Facing elimination from the World Baseball Classic on Monday night at PETCO Park, the Cubans sent the Mexicans home instead with a 7-4 victory.
Cuban relievers Yulieski Gonzalez and Yunieski Maya were not available against Mexico on Monday because of a mixup regarding the pitch-counts rules.
The matchup on the mound is set. Norge Luis Vera will start for Cuba in the elimination game against Mexico on Monday night at PETCO Park. Jorge Campillo will pitch for Mexico.
Cuba is one loss away from elimination in what would be the country's worst finish in international competition, but the island nation remains optimistic.
The Cubans endured their first defeat of the 2009 Classic on Sunday, falling, 6-0, to Japan. It now plays the loser of the Mexico vs. Korea game on Monday at 8 p.m. ET.
Japan and Cuba renew the 2006 World Baseball Classic final on Sunday, but the rivalry between the two Countries ballclubs dates back well beyond that.