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Cuba was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday with their 14-1 loss to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Cuban national team went 0-3 in the second round of the WBC, in what was a quicker than expected exit. In Pool E which was held in Japan, Cuba fell to Israel and Team Japan as well. Wednesday’s loss was the most lopsided one in the WBC thus far.
Cuba entered the second round with high hopes, after going 2-1 in the initial round. The only loss Cuba suffered in that first round was to Japan, and it came in the first game of the tournament. With the first and second rounds held in Tokyo, Team Japan had somewhat of a homefield advantage as well.
In the first WBC back in 2006, Team Cuba went all the way to the championship game. Japan would go on to win that tournament, and remains a powerhouse internationally. For Cuba, the road has been more difficult and treacherous. With players defecting left and right, Team Cuba has had to play with a decimated roster.
Due to the current rules in-pace, players that defected from Cuba are ineligible to play for the national team. This keeps stars such as Yoenis Cespedes in spring training, rather than competing in the WBC. Without many of the best players from the area, Cuba is at a noticeable disadvantage from the start.
Had Cuba advanced to the semi-finals, the team would have joined Japan in Los Angeles for next week’s action. Instead it will be the Dutch team that will be playing at Dodger Stadium.
The WBC’s second round will continue in San Diego on Wednesday evening when the United States takes on Venezuela.