After last season’s playoff performance, Chicago Cubs fans knew just how special Javier Baez was, and on Friday, he showcased his talents for the world again with an incredible game against Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Playing second base for Puerto Rico, Baez went 1-for-3 at the plate as his team picked up a 6-5 victory over the Americans, punching their ticket to the semifinal round in Los Angeles next week.
A 1-for-3 day at the dish isn’t that impressive, but it’s what Baez did after each of those plate appearances that really set him apart. During his MLB career, Baez has stolen a total of 18 bases and has never stolen more than one base in a game. In Friday’s contest, Baez ended up stealing a total of three bases, tying a World Baseball Classic record and giving Team USA catcher Buster Posey fits in the process.
That’s not all Baez did either. With the United States threatening a rally in the sixth inning, Baez did what he does best as he made a spectacular sliding play at second base to help squelch the rally and keep the Puerto Rican squad in front:
During the tournament, Baez has also cracked a home run and driven in five RBI, and he has been the talk of the tournament because of his on-field bravado and his incredible play both at the plate and with his glove. Thanks in part to his heroics, Puerto Rico has yet to lose a game, winning five in a row and putting themselves into the semifinal round along with Japan and the Netherlands.
Puerto Rico will have one more game in group play on Saturday when they play Venezuela at San Diego’s Petco Park. After that they will next be in action on Monday in the semifinal round of the Classic at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.