Yariel Rodríguez: “I always felt like I had the upper hand on the Netherlands’ hitters.”

Yariel Rodríguez was the starter for the Cuban team in their debut against the Netherlands in the V World Baseball Classic (WBC). His start generated a lot of controversy because last year (2022) he had been a reliever with Los Dragones de Chunichi in Japan.

However, he made a good start for Cuba in WBC, an event with a unique pitching regulation (only 65 pitches maximum). Rodriguez spent four innings on the mound posting a fastball in between 95-98 mph. During his outing he only surrendered three hits and left the game knotted at one upon his departure, the young fireballee only walked one batter and was punched out six batters.

However, the Cuban team lost again to a Dutch team in the WBC and extending their current losing streak to four against the orange machine.

Yariel Rodríguez gave these declarations to the press after the game:

Yariel first explain to us how you felt in the game. You were in the violent game in your speed in your spins. How did you feel in your debut here in the World Classics?

“I felt good, I felt comfortable. Despite the fact that they are excellent hitters, I always felt above the hitters. The result didn’t come out, we lost, but I felt pretty good.”

Did it bother you that you were so dominant and the only run scored against you was done by such a weak base hit?

It definitely bothered me that the scored on a seeing eye single, but I weathered the storm and was able to get out of the inning.

What plan did you have today. Did you know the batters from the Netherlands, did you have a strategy with any of them or did you stick to the same line with all of them?

“I stayed in the same line, . Always working with fastballs and sliders. Although we lost I feel like I gave it my all and performed formidably.

You had 66 pitches, which is to say, you probably won’t see anymore action in this first round. Do you think the team can get through, can they recover from this first loss today?

“Yes, I think so. This defeat has not completely our the spirits, it has us down a bit, but the athletes continue with the same spirit and tomorrow we will come out stronger and I think that we can go to Japan.”

Yariel you are a pitcher that last year we saw you in relief in Japan, now you are making the transition to a starter. How difficult has it been for you to do this?

“Well, since practice we’ve been working on this. It’s been a bit difficult because in Japan I spent a year throwing only one inning. But I was a starter. I think the good thing is that I had the courage, the desire and the gall to do it and the results so far have been good.”

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