The 2017 World Baseball Classic second-round pool play is underway and the United States gets its first taste of the action Wednesday night. Pool F play takes place in San Diego's Petco Park. We saw the first game Tuesday night, when Puerto Rico took ...
The 2017 World Baseball Classic second-round pool play is underway and the United States gets its first taste of the action Wednesday night. Pool F play takes place in San Diego’s Petco Park. We saw the first game Tuesday night, when Puerto Rico took down the Dominican Republic. Now it’s the other two teams facing off, as Venezuela -- fresh off barely surviving a tiebreaker game against Italy -- gets USA. Here’s how you can watch the game:How to watchTeams: Venezuela vs. USADate: Wednesday, March 15Time: 9 p.m. ETTelevision: MLB NetworkStreaming: MLB.tv PreviewUSA comes in 2-1 with a tough victory over Colombia, a crushing of Canada and a loss to the powerful Dominican Republic that was a good Andrew Miller outing away from a win. I don’t think we can say they are a well-oiled machine or anything, but for the most part USA has played relatively well so far. After all, three games is a painfully small sample. On the flip-side, Venezuela has an absolutely loaded, All-Star-laden lineup but went 1-2 in the pool before the tiebreaker game, where they needed a ninth-inning comeback to survive an inferior-on-paper Italy team. Up until that win over Italy on Monday, Venezuela had major run prevention issues, giving up 11 runs to Mexico, 10 to Italy and 11 to Puerto Rico in only seven innings.Felix Hernandez gets the ball for Venezuela and he gave up two runs (one earned) in 2 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and two walks against Puerto Rico in the first round. He’s coming off his worst season since he was 20 years old, by some measures. On the U.S. side it’s Drew Smyly. He hasn’t thrown in WBC action yet this spring. He has had several very good stretches in his career. Last year, overall, wasn’t one of those. He had a 4.88 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 175 1/3 innings for the Rays. The Venezuelan offense could explode at any moment. It contains Jose Altuve, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Victor Martinez and Martin Prado, among others. Then again, it’s only one game and Monday, the following Italy pitchers held Venezuela to one run through eight innings: A.J. Morris, Trey Nielsen, Pat Venditte, Tommy Layne and Tiago Da Silva.So your guess is as good as mine.
Prediction:It’s a total crapshoot at this point, with four stellar teams in this pool. I’ll go patriotic and pick a USA victory, 6-4. Here is
the full 2017 WBC schedule
as well as
the full rosters
. The championship game will be played March 22 at Dodger Stadium.
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