The World Baseball Classic has been a great thing for the sport of baseball as it brings together people of different cultures, races, and countries to watch. With the qualifiers set to begin, on March 13, people know that the World Baseball Classic is around the corner. Pool 1 consists of Pakistan, Brazil, France, Germany, South Africa, and Nicaragua. The top two countries will advance to the 20 team tournament that starts on March 9, 2021. Here are predictions for how each game could go and the impacts for the two countries that advance.

Game 1: Pakistan vs Brazil

This game should be a walk in the park for the pool favorite Brazil.

Brazil manager Barry Larkin will probably be smart and throw a weaker pitcher against Pakistan who doesn't have one player on its roster who's affiliated with an MLB team.

Back in the 2017 qualifiers when Brazil and Pakistan played each other, Brazil beat Pakistan 10-0 in seven innings due to the mercy rule. Pakistan was also outhit 13-4. It doesn't look like it will get any easier for Pakistan in a rematch four years later.

Winner: Brazil mercies Pakistan in seven innings

Game 2: Germany vs France

This matchup could be the tightest matchup of this pool with both teams looking even on paper. Germany features five players currently affiliated with an MLB organization and two former major league players in catcher Bruce Maxwell and infielder Donald Lutz.

While starters have not yet been announced, Germany will probably start Dodgers AAA player Markus Solbach who holds a 3.47 E.R.A. in 99 games pitched (61 starts).

France meanwhile is managed by most likely future Hall of Fame coach Bruce Bochy who has won three World Series rings in his managerial career.

France has three MLB affiliated players in RHP Jason Alexander (Angels), infielder Ernesto Martinez (Brewers) and infielder Alen Hanson (Mariners) and has 261 major league games under his belt. They also have Brett Bochy who appeared in seven games at the major league level.

This game will be very tight but with a great manager in Bruce Bochy, he'll be able to pull off an opening win for France.

Winner: France beats Germany in a tight-knit game

Game 3: Brazil vs Nicaragua

Coming off an easy game against Pakistan, Brazil will get a much tougher opponent in Nicaragua. With Barry Larkin unlikely to use a strong pitcher against Pakistan, he'll have his better pitchers well-rested and will have his five different MLB affiliated pitchers on his roster to use against Nicaragua. In fact, his whole team will probably be well-rested as he'll likely pull his offensive starters halfway into the game against Pakistan once their up by a lot.

This will be Nicaragua's first game which comes against a tough opponent in Brazil. Their best player is Cheslor Cuthbert who has appeared in 322 games over the last five seasons.

In fact, Cuthbert might be the best player in this qualifier which gives Nicaragua an advantage. Nicaragua also has four other players with MLB affiliation which two of them include a pitcher and catcher.

Nicaragua is a decent team but it doesn't seem like they have enough or what it takes to pull off an upset and beat Brazil.

Winner: Brazil beats Nicaragua by at least four runs

Game 4: France vs South Africa

After a hard-fought game against Germany, France moves onto the winner's bracket to face South Africa who should be an easier opponent. France will likely have used many pitchers in their game against Germany, especially their better ones so Bruce Bochy will have to be careful with how he uses his pitchers in France's second game with the World Baseball Classic pitch count rules.

South Africa will play their first game against a World Series-winning manager with only two current MLB affiliated players on their roster. Those are Kieran Lovegrove (Dodgers) and Brendan Venter (Braves). They also have Gift Ngoepe who appeared in 41 games in the MLB over 2017 and 2018 but he didn't belong there.

France has a better manager coaching them and a better team. Even though South Africa could pull off the upset due to the talent of the countries being somewhat even, France having a World Series manager in Bruce Bochy will be the difference-maker.

Winner: France

Game 5: Germany vs Nicaragua

We are now onto the losers bracket where once a team loses a game they are out of the qualifier.

The first game in the losers bracket is Germany vs Nicaragua. Germany will be coming off a tough loss against France where they will likely have used their best pitcher in Solbach as well as their stronger arms coming out of the bullpen. Despite facing elimination, Germany will unlikely use Solbach due to the pitching rules prohibiting a pitcher from throwing on consecutive days if they threw more than 30 pitches the previous day. Germany may turn to Twins minor leaguer Niklas Rimmel who has a career 2.61 E.R.A. in the minors to start the elimination game against Nicaragua.

Nicaragua only has one MLB affiliated pitcher in Leonardo Crawford (Dodgers) but he could very well be used against Brazil.

This would then force Nicaragua to use other pitchers which none of them are affiliated with a major league team. While their pitching may be weak, they do possess arguably the best player in the tournament in Cuthbert who should be able to thrive against minor league pitching.

While this game could go either way, Germany is the stronger team and will come out on top.

Winner: Germany eliminates Nicaragua

Game 6: Pakistan vs South Africa

The second game of the elimination bracket is Pakistan playing South Africa where Pakistan comes off a big loss at the hands of Brazil and South Africa comes off a loss against France. South Africa will be a much easier opponent for the lowly Pakistan team but it won't be any better due to the lack of talent Pakistan has.

It will be interesting to see how Pakistan plays against somewhat easier competition despite being the huge underdogs to win the game.

To be safe, South Africa will surely play both Venter and Ngoepe but don't expect Lovegrove to pitch. Venter and Ngoepe probably won't even play the whole game as they'll both likely be pulled once South Africa has a comfortable lead.

Without a doubt, South Africa will win this game.

Winner: South Africa eliminates Pakistan in a landslide

Game 7: Brazil vs France

Both Brazil and France come into this game without a loss and with high stakes as the winner gets to move on and secure a spot in the 2021 World Baseball Classic. Both teams will be having their strongest lineup possible to prevent them from playing another game.

Brazil will have most of their major league affiliated players available to pitch in a crucial game that includes AAA players Rodrigo "Bo" Takahashi (Diamondbacks) and Dylan Lee (Marlins). Their lineup is also potent for this bracket as it features Dante Bichette Jr, Paulo Orlando, Gabriel Maciel (career .288 average in minors) among others.

Meanwhile, France manager Bruce Bochy will do the best to his ability to utilize his players against a strong Brazilian team. He will most likely use his only major league affiliated pitcher in Angels AA pitcher Jason Alexander who isn't very good but he's their strongest pitcher with the exception of maybe Bruce Bochy's son Brett who appeared in seven games at the majors and will also most likely pitch in this game assuming he can.

Former major leaguer Hanson is very likely to bat leadoff or second to get the most at-bats he possibly can in this game.

The stakes and nerves will be high for both teams as both countries can clinch a World Baseball Classic berth. Even though it's one game and anything can happen in one game, Brazil is the stronger team and they will be running all over the field with a Brazilian flag at the end of the game.

Winner: Brazil beats France to move onto the 2021 World Baseball Classic

Game 8: Germany vs South Africa

Winner goes onto the final game while loser goes home. Germany has a decent offence that contains two current MLB affiliated players and two players with MLB experience. It's possible that Germany may not have any of their MLB affiliated pitchers available but it's possible that they'll have Solbach available to pitch for them.

With South Africa not posing too much of a threat, they may opt to take a risk and save Solbach for the next game and bring him in the case they find themselves down sometime during the game against South Africa.

A somewhat weak South African team will need a good amount to go their way to win this game. They'll need an injury from one of Germany's best players, a bad game from the Germans or a really good game on their part to win. That would consist of both Ngoepe and Venter recording a hit in each of their at-bats and have strong contributions from the rest of their roster.

Germany is the stronger team and should come out with a win against the South Africans which eliminates them.

Winner: Germany eliminates South Africa

Game 9: Germany vs France

France finds themselves in another high-stakes game but this time against France as the winner secures the second spot of Pool 1 to go to the World Baseball Classic while the loser will have to try again in four years. This is a rematch of game two where they both faced each other for their first game of the tournament where I predicted that France wins a close game.

Regarding pitching, Germany will use whatever they got left which could very well include all of their MLB affiliated pitchers in Solbach (Dodgers), Jacobsen (Rangers) and Rimmel (Twins). They'll have Maxwell (career major league average of .240) and Lutz (career major league average of .211) bat near the top of the lineup and hope for the best from the whole team.

Even in the final game that's a must-win, France may be short their best pitchers due to pitch count rules. Depending on how much they pitch, both Alexander and Brett Bochy may not be available to pitch in the final game but with a smart manager like Bruce Bochy at the helm, at least one of them should be available for the final must-win game. Hanson will again bat near the top and so will Brewers minor league infielder Ernesto Martinez most likely. France will also have to hope for the best from the rest of the roster.

It will be another tight-knit close game but Germany will end victorious in the more important matchup because of one reason, the fact that they have a former major league catcher behind the dish in Maxwell who will be the X-factor of this matchup. The fact that he has experience catching in the major leagues will allow him to help himself, his pitchers and his team adjust to the French hitters smoothly and he'll be able to control the game better than French manager Bruce Bochy can as the players are the ones responsible for the play and production that happens on the field.

Winner: Germany beats France to move onto the 2021 World Baseball Classic

Impact on Brazilian baseball

Brazil will go back to the Classic after missing out on the 2017 edition. They were in the 2013 Classic where they finished 0-3 and lost to Cuba, Japan and China which were all close games. This time around, they could do better where they could have major league catcher Yan Gomes behind the dish. They could also potentially get up-and-coming young star Bo Bichette to play for them who appeared in the 2017 qualifier. They could also possibly bring on Luiz Gohara, Thyago Vieira and Andre Rienzo who all have major league experience. Blue Jays prospect Eric Pardinho is from Brazil and also participated in the 2017 qualifier but he is unlikely to play as he'll be rehabbing from surgery.

Impact on German baseball

Germany will be in their first Classic after failing to qualify in 2013 and 2017. For 2021, they could have German outfielder Max Kepler join them who has 92 career HR in the majors. Other players with major league experience that could join them are Aaron Altherr, Jeff Baker and Edwin Jackson. Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire could also be an option to manage team Germany in the 2021 Classic as he was born there.

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