USA And Puerto Rico To Play For WBC Championship
After weeks of thrilling matches and lots of unexpected results, the World Baseball Classic is coming to an end, and only one thing’s certain:a new champion shall rise. Puerto Rico (7-0) and the United States (5-2) will both play for their firstWBC title at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Both teams know each other perfectly. They already met in the second round of this tournamentwhen Puerto Rico defeated the United Stated 6-5, at San Diego’s Petco Park, to get a win that helped them win Pool F.
Both teamsfeature players who are stars in the majors. The United States, with a roster full of stars like Giancarlo Stanton, Nolan Arenado and Buster Posey, eliminated team Japan,a two-time WBC winner that had won its first six tournament games.
While Puerto Rico is a very talented squad led by Javier Báez, Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor, that eliminated the defending champion Dominican Republic to reach its second consecutive WBC title game and avenge the 0-3 loss in the 2013 Final.
Team USA’s Jim Leyland will send Marcus Stroman to the mound. The Toronto Blue Jays right-hander has a 3.86 ERA in the 9.1 innings he has thrown in the tournament giving Leyland enough confidence to start him and face the powerful Puerto Rico sluggers.
While Edwin Rodriguez wants to win for his country the championship that eluded them in 2013 and is convinced that Seth Lugo can help the Boricuas achieve that goal. The New York Mets youngster has two wins in the tournament – one against the United States, and his 2.45 ERA shows how dominant he can be.
Everything indicates that this will match will be as close as the first one. The United States, playing in its first final, hopes to score early to provide its strong bullpen a chance to defend a lead and win the game;while Puerto Rico hopes their offense will score often to avoid depending on their unstable bullpen to win the championship.
The work and experience of Yadier Molina will once again be vital for Puerto Rico. Not only for his ability to handle the Puerto Rican pitchers, but for his batting power that has already been important to reach this game once again.
Yesterday at Dodger Stadium the USA defeated Japan 2-1 in an intense ball to reach this matchup with Puerto Rico, and if both teams play to the best of their abilities this final match should prove to be a really close and more intense affair than that.