The World Baseball Classic has always been popular outside of the 50 states, but it seems to have finally caught on in the US in its fourth tournament. Part of the reason may have been the play of Team USA, who make the finals for the first time in the history of the tournament. Joining them in the finals is Puerto Rico, who lost to the Dominican Republic 3-0 in the tournament the last time around.
In this tournament, Puerto Rico is 7-0, including a 6-5 win over the United States in the second round. Team USA is 5-2, with a first-round loss to the Dominican Republic in addition to the Puerto Rico loss.
The starting pitchers are a rematch of the second-round game between these two teams. Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman starts for Team USA. He’s made two previous starts in this tournament and has a 3.86 ERA over 9⅓ innings. However, he took the loss to Puerto Rico after allowing four runs in 4⅔ innings.
Mets pitcher Seth Lugo has also made two starts in the WBC, going 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA over 11 innings. In his start against the USA, he allowed three runs over 5⅔ innings. However, that includes solo home runs allowed to Buster Posey and Adam Jones.
At this point, you should know the teams. Brandon Crawford, Christian Yelich and Eric Hosmer will all be competing for tournament MVP if Team USA wins. The trio of young infielders, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor and the Cubs’ Javier Baez are all in the discussion for MVP if Puerto Rico wins, along with veterans Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina.
The game starts at 8 p.m. Central time from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. They’ve sold over 50,000 tickets for this one, so it’s possible they could sell out with walkup sales. In any case, giant Dodger Stadium is going to be rocking.
The weather forecast now calls for the rain to hold off, so this game should happen. You can watch the game on the MLB Network or on MLB.tv if you have a premium subscription.
Kinsler 2B, Jones CF, Yelich LF, Arenado 3B, Hosmer 1B, McCutchen RF, Crawford SS, Stanton DH, Lucroy C
Puerto Rico lineup:
Pagan LF, Lindor SS, Correa 3B, Beltran DH, Molina C, Baez 2B, Rosario RF, Rivera 1B, Hernandez CF
One of these two teams will win their first WBC title ever. Use this thread to discuss the game.