SEOUL, South Korea -- In the not-too-distant future, Tyler Krieger will hopefully be playing in a World Series for the Indians. But for now, the Cleveland farmhand is making his mark in the World Baseball Classic for Team Israel.One of four Israel players with three hits on Tuesday at the
SEOUL, South Korea -- In the not-too-distant future, Tyler Krieger will hopefully be playing in a World Series for the Indians. But for now, the Cleveland farmhand is making his mark in the World Baseball Classic for Team Israel.
One of four Israel players with three hits on Tuesday at the Gocheok Sky Dome, Krieger's two-out, two-run single capped a four-run first for his country, which routed Chinese Taipei, 15-7, to take the first two Classic games and put manager Jerry Weinstein's team in position to seal a berth in the next round in Japan.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
"I think we're in a pretty good spot," Krieger said. "Obviously, we still have a game left to play. So we're going to do everything we can to prepare for that game. But overall, we're feeling good. And we're just got to run this momentum out."
Ike Davis got the scoring started with a two-run single, and after Blake Gailen struck out with men on first and third, Israel could have been staring at another situation of not taking advantage of a major scoring opportunity like Monday night vs. Korea. But there was the left-handed-hitting Krieger calmly taking an elevated 0-2 fastball up the middle, chasing Taipei starter Chun-Lin Kuo from the game before he could secure his third out.
"Just looking for something in my zone and not to try to chase pitches," said Krieger, who is the Indians' No. 18 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. "You know that's kind of [Chinese Taipei's] tendency is to try to get you to chase out of the zone, so just looking in my spots and happen to get a couple of pitches over the plate that I could do some damage with."
An inning after Chinese Taipei had closed the gap to within three runs, Krieger's second run-scoring hit knocked another pitcher out of the game, this time left-hander Fu-Te Ni. In his at-bats Tuesday, plus his bases-loaded walk in Monday's 2-1 victory over Korea, the 23-year-old second baseman's offseason work has clearly paid off.
"I try to work hard in the offseason and during the year to refine my approach every day and put myself in good situations when I'm at the plate," Krieger said. "I try to look for my pitch and have a strategic plan based off the scouting reports that they're giving us and just let the game come to me and not chase it."
That poise, maturity and professional bat will be needed when Israel, which has a day off before returning to play on Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET (noon local time Thursday), takes on the Netherlands. You can watch that game -- as well as all World Baseball Classic games -- on MLB Network and MLB.TV.
"They have a really good team," Krieger said. "They've got some really good positional players and some good arms from what I heard. I have to go over the scouting report, but for the most part, they're a really solid ballclub. We're looking forward to just competing with them, so it should be a fun time."
The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Chris Han is a reporter for MLB.com.