Venezuela starts their run for the World Baseball Classic Championship this week at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Venezuela will compete in Pool C during the first round of the WBC. Pool C includes Dominican Republic, Spain, Puerto Rico, in addition to Venezuela.
Before he was removed the Venezuelan roster, their top pitcher was Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners. The subtraction of Hernandez, pushed Anibal Sanchez to the top hurler on the team. Although Venezuela doesn’t have a bonafide ace on their team, the Maracay, Venezuela native will step up to the plate and be the leader of the pitching staff.
The Detroit Tigers starting pitcher will be joined by fellow Major League Baseball teammate and first baseman, Miguel Cabrera on the Venezuelan team. Sanchez was traded to the Tigers last season after playing six seasons for the Miami Marlins organization. In 12 games for the Tigers during the 2012 season, the 29-year-old was 4-6 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.286 WHIP and 57 strikeouts over 74.2 innings. Following the season, Sanchez signed a five-year $88 million deal with the Tigers plus a team option for 2018.
In addition to the great starting rotation for the Venezuelan team, they have a strong bullpen that will help hold small leads late in games. With the talent on this Venezuelan team, there should be no reason the team shouldn’t medal in this year’s WBC.
Sanchez and Venezuela take on the Dominican Republic, Thursday at 6:30 p.m. eastern, in their first game of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, ”Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google. To read more articles from Justin Soderberg, click here.