Even Phillies backup catcher Garrett Stubbs reached headlines in the World Baseball Classic.
Pool C also featured Israel. Phillies backup catcher Garrett Stubbs led off and played third base for Israel. Stubbs was one of the few big-league players on the team.
In its first game of the tournament, Israel trailed Nicaragua, 1-0, for most of the game. In the bottom of the eighth, Israel loaded the bases and even tied the game through the bottom of the order. With two outs and the game notched at one, Stubbs stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. Stubbs hit a 2-2 pitch over the left fielder's head, scoring two and giving Israel the runs needed to get the win.
Sadly, Stubbs had some knee soreness from the game and was taken off the roster after just one game. However, it was a great moment for the Phillies bench player to have a star moment for his country.
In Pool D, Venezuela dominated, winning all four games. Phillies relief pitcher José Alvarado helped his country to two of those wins.
The first game was one of the best matchups of the pool stage. Venezuela and Dominican Republic faced off to open Pool D play. Leading 5-1, Alvarado was tasked to close out the Dominican Republic's star-studded lineup in the ninth. Alvarado started the inning by striking out Julio Rodríguez. After letting Juan Soto and Manny Machado reach base, Alvarado rebounded by striking out Teoscar Hernández and getting Rafael Devers to ground out to end the game.
Three days later, Alvarado came into the game against Nicaragua. With a 4-1 lead, Alvarado struck out Nicaragua's first two hitters. After allowing a double, Alvarado forced a fly out to center field to end the game.
In two appearances, Alvarado had two saves and allowed no runs. He looks to already be in midseason form. Venezuela now faces Team USA on Saturday in the quarterfinal round. It will be interesting to see if Alvarado is given the chance to face one of his Phillies teammates.
The World Baseball Classic has allowed fans to see some of the game's best players play in postseason atmospheres before MLB's regular season begins. The rest of the tournament will hopefully feature some combination of Phillies that allows fans to see them on the biggest stage again — just months after watching them in the World Series.