And then there were two.
Tonight is the night. The World Baseball Classic championship game will be played at Dodger Stadium between the United States and Puerto Rico.
It has been a long road for the USA. They finished second in their group in pool play advancing on to the Quarterfinals. They finished second in their group in the Quarterfinals and moved on to a date with Japan in the Semifinals. Last night they defeated Japan 2-1 to earn a spot in the WBC Finals.
The Americans will be facing Puerto Rico, who slugged their way past every team they faced, including the US in a 6-5 thriller last Friday night, on their way to the final. The Islanders beat the Netherlands in a funky international extra-innings bunt-off to solidify their place in the championship game.
This game is going to be a story of which team is still standing in the 9th. The US has had a propensity for late inning runs, where the Puerto Ricans tend to jump out early to big leads. The Puerto Ricans have some amazing young talent the likes of Carlos Correa, and Francisco Lindor, but are galvanized by some future Hall of Famers in Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina. The back end of their line-up is not as strong as the Americans, so top to bottom, the US has the advantage, but the first 5 for Puerto Rico are certainly tough to contend with.
The true difference will be the United States pitching. They are much deeper than the Puerto Ricans, but in a game that is still officially during Spring Training, pitching is always a question mark. Blue Jays young ace Marcus Stroman will toe the rubber for the States, while the Mets 6th starter Seth Lugo will take the mound for the territory.
The game starts at 8 Central Time on MLB Network tonight! Make sure to tune in as neither of these two teams have ever won the World Baseball Championship!
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