The 2023 World Baseball Classic is in full swing. Teams have officially wrapped up pool play and the tournament has moved on to the quarterfinals with some teams even having advanced to the semifinals.
In this year's classic, there are quite a few Brewers players participating, which includes major and minor league players. Over the opening weekend, two Milwaukee pitchers picked up saves for their respective countries.
Brewers player #1 to pick up a save on opening weekend in the 2023 World Baseball Classic: Javy Guerra
Right-handed reliever Javy Guerra was acquired by the Brewers through trade in November at the tender deadline. The former Tampa Bay Ray is out of minor league options and needs to make Milwaukee's opening day roster. Picking up a save for Panama against Italy certainly could help his case.
With a two-run cushion, Guerra's ninth inning against Italy got off to a shaky start. He allowed a walk and single to begin the inning and finally recorded the first out via a strikeout. Needing a ground ball, Guerra then generated a game-ending double play that he initiated on a comebacker hit right at him.
That win initially kept Panama's slim quarterfinal hopes alive momentarily. Unfortunately, every team in Pool A (Chaos Pool) ended up finishing 2-2 and Panama lost courtesy of the tie breaker rules. Guerra's World Baseball Classic tenure is now over, but he did make the most out of his opportunity as he did not allow an earned run over two appearances.
Brewers player #2 to pick up a save opening weekend in the 2023 World Baseball Classic: Robert Stock
Robert Stock, who is currently in his first season as a member of the Brewers, is a 33-year-old pitcher with experience in the major leagues as well as in the Korean Baseball Organization. His strong 2022 season with the Doosan Bears resulted in a minor league contract with an invite to spring training with Milwaukee.
In the World Baseball Classic, Stock played as a member of Team Israel. Israel was in Pool D, a very tough pool that features Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic. Stock picked up his save in Israel's opening match up against Nicaragua.
After being shut out through the first seven innings, Israel scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 3-1 lead. They then turned to Stock for the save. On the mound, Stock looked in control of the situation as he retired three Nicaraguan hitters in order, striking out two.
The World Baseball Classic is still ongoing and will not conclude until March 21. Hopefully more Brewers players can continue to shine during this global event.