Chicago Cubs pitcher Roenis Elias twirls gem for Team Cuba in WBC
With the World Baseball Classic festivities underway, Team Cuba played their second game in pool play, with Chicago Cubs pitcher, Roenis Elias, taking the mound. After beginning spring training with a rocky 7.71 ERA in 4.2 innings pitched with the Cubs, Elias took to form, recording a line of 5.0 IP, two hits, one walk, and 3 Ks throughout 67 pitches. Surprisingly, Team Cuba opted not to stretch Elias a little further while doing so well since he was on seven days of rest.
Funny enough, one of the two hits he allowed came off the bat of Cubs hitter Miles Mastrobuoni who laced a booming double into left-center in the top of the 3rd inning. Looking ahead, the Cubs need this form of Elias if they wish to squeeze any value from him. Seeing him shine in a starting pitching role, which he last did in a big league game at the MLB level in 2019, is a welcomed sight for a Cubs front office that put forth substantial effort this offseason to fill their roster with pitchers who can play that swing role if necessary.
Elias had a fantastic Dominican Winter League season this year, finishing up with a 1.02 ERA after finally giving up a run after a streak of 31.2 innings without doing so. Interestingly, his career splits as a starter vs. reliever (4.15 ERA as a SP, 3.38 as a RP) have consistently proven him to be more effective out of the bullpen, but since the DWL took place, he seems more locked in as a starting pitcher.
Next up on Team Cuba's schedule will be a showdown with the Chinese Taipei on March 11th at 10:30 pm Central. Other than that, it's still being determined if we can expect Elias to pitch again for Cuba or if his next outing will be back with the Cubs in Arizona. In any case, hats off to Elias for a dominant outing. Here's to wishing all of the Cubs a successful and safe run in the World Baseball Classic.