Israel defeats Chinese Taipei 15-7 in World Baseball Classic

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The World Baseball Classic continued on Monday night as Team Israel “visited” Team Chinese Taipei at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, South Korea. Team Israel had just come off of a 10-inning, 2-1 victory over Korea early Monday morning, but wasted no time jumping out to a convincing lead against Chinese Taipei.

In the first inning, Sam Fuld led off with a single and promptly moved to third when Ty Kelly doubled. Ike Davis singled to right field to bring both home for a 2-0 lead. The barrage kept coming as Nate Freiman singled to put runners on first and second. Chinese Taipei starter Chun-Lin Kuo managed to strike out Zach Borenstein, but Ryan Lavarnway singled to load the bases. Kuo then struck out Blake Gailen, but Tyler Kreiger kept the rally going with a single to center, scoring two more runs to make it 4-0. Team Israel tacked on two more runs in the third inning when Lavarnway smoked a two-run home run to center field off of Kuan-Yu Chen.

Team Israel Starter Corey Baker went 4 2/3 scoreless innings, limiting Taipei to three hits with no walks and three strikeouts on 59 pitches. R.C. Orlan relieved Baker and got the final two outs of the fifth. Taipei finally got on the board in the sixth. With one out, Chin-Lung Hu reached on a single, Chih-Hao Chang reached on a missed catch error on a force attempt at second, and Chih-Hsien Chiang drew a walk to load the bases. Tyler Herron came in for Orlan, but immediately gave up a two-run double to left field to Chih-Sheng Lin. Yi-Chuan Lin lifted a sacrifice fly to center, making it a 6-3 game. Herron struck out Kuo-Hui Kao to end the inning at long last.

Davis led off the top of the seventh with a triple that was very nearly a solo home run to center field. He came around to score on a Freiman single to left to push the lead to 7-3. Fu-Te Ni relieved Ming-Chin Tsai, but Israel kept their foot on the gas pedal. After Zach Borenstein lined out, Lavarnway was hit by a pitch. Cody Decker, pinch-hitting for Gailen, singled to left to load the bases. Kreiger then laced a single to center, pushing Israel’s lead to 8-3 and keeping the bases loaded. Chen-Hua Lin came in for Ni and thought he’d have at least one out when Scott Burcham dropped down a bunt. Lin fielded the bunt down the first base line and threw to… no one covering the first base bag. The throw went into right field and three more runs crossed the plate to make it 11-3. In the eighth, Israel tacked on one more run. Borenstein doubled and Nick Rickles singled to plate Borenstein. The game went from rout to laugher in the top of the ninth. After Israel drew two two-out walks, Nate Freiman lined a three-run homer to left field, turning it into a 15-3 lead.

Chinese Taipei threatened in the bottom of the ninth, putting their first two runners on base with a walk and a single. After pitcher Troy Neiman got Hu to ground out, Chang ripped a two-run double to left field. Dean Kremer relieved Neiman and served up a double of his own to Chiang, plating Chang. Chi-Hsiang Lin singled to put runners on first and third with one out. Yi-Chuan Lin grounded a single to right to bring in another run, cutting the lead to 15-7. Kuo-Hui Kao fouled out down the right field line for the second out. Finally, the game ended when Chi-Hung Hsu whiffed on strike three from Kremer.

Israel has jumped out to a convincing 2-0 lead in Pool A. They will take on Team Netherlands on Wednesday evening in an attempt to go undefeated through Pool A. If they make it through, they’ll enter Pool E which will be held in Tokyo.

The World Baseball Classic continues on Tuesday. In the early morning, Team Korea takes on Team Netherlands. Shortly after that game gets underway, Pool B play begins with Team Cuba and Team Japan square off. At night, Team China will host Team Cuba.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.