For baseball fans, never really was This is A kind of drama This is Early spring. Now there is only one game left.
Defending champion USA meets two-time defending champion Japan tonight in Miami for the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
It is a matchup of two powerhouse teams. Team USA beat Cuba 14-2 in Sunday’s semifinals, while Japan beat Mexico 6-5 in dramatic fashion on Monday night.
A rabid sellout crowd will be on hand hoping to witness another classic matchup when Diamondbacks right-hander Meryl Kelly takes the mount for the United States.
How to watch: WBC Final Time, TV Channel, Streaming Information
Japan took a 2-1 lead at the Reserve Bank Stadium
USA starter Meryl Kelly was removed after loading the bases with one out in the second inning. Lefty Aaron Loup came out of the bullpen for the Americans and grounded out to Lars Knudper, plating the go-ahead run for Japan.
Lupp, pitching for the Angels, retired the next batter to stay out of trouble.
Japan leads 2-1 after two innings.
Leading off the bottom of the second inning, Japan’s Munedaka Murakami crushed a solo home run to right field off American starter Meryl Kelly, tying the game 1-1 after Trea Turner’s solo homer opened the scoring in the top of the inning.
Murakami He was the hero in the semi-final against Mexico, delivering a walk-off win on Monday night. The 23-year-old slugger hit 56 home runs for the Yakults in 2022, batting .318 with 132 RBI and a 1.168 OPS.
USA took a 1-0 lead on Trey Turner’s home run
Team USA took a 1-0 lead in the second inning with Trey Turner’s solo homer, the tournament’s star shortstop’s fifth home run, tying a World Baseball Classic record.
Japan starter Shoda Imanaka’s home run comes after Turner hit two in the semifinal against Cuba. A Grand Slam in the quarter-finals against Venezuela and another in the group stage against Canada.
Turner signed an 11-year, $300 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies this winter.
Japan works around Trout’s first-inning double
Mike Trout hit a blooper to right in the top of the first inning, but Japan starter Shoda Imanaka struck out Paul Goldschmidt and walked Nolan Arenado to end the first inning.
The left-hander has a 3.01 ERA in 970.2 career innings in Japan, including a 2.04 mark in 24 games in 2022.
Angels teammates Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani led their teams onto the field at Lone Depot Park before the national anthems.
After homers in the last two games, shortstop Trey Turner moved up in the Team USA lineup. Other lineup changes include JT Realmuto starting behind the plate, Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter and Cedric Mullins in left field.
US starter Meryl Kelly gave up two earned runs in three innings against Colombia in the group stage.
Shohei Ohtani stood at the entrance to Japan’s clubhouse Monday night, surrounded by a handful of reporters, and asked what everyone in the baseball world wanted to know:
Will Los Angeles Angels pitcher Mike Trout pitch Tuesday night against the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic final?
Ohtani smiled, a bit quieter, but when asked, He’ll actually pitch if needed, as well as Japan’s starting DH.
“Mentally, I’ll be ready,” Ohtani said, “but obviously, I’ll be DHing, so it’s going to be tough to find time to get hot in the bullpen.”
Angels manager Bill Nevin said Tuesday afternoon Ohtani was allowed to pitch one inning in that game.
– Bob Nightingale
The American team feels almost invincible
Back in the finals of the World Baseball Classic, they thought they’d won all along.
Team USA defeated Cuba 14-2 on Sunday night Then the game changed to a comedy club routine.
Starter Adam Wainwright struggled in the opening inning, but St. Louis Cardinals reliever Paul Goldschmidt relieved him with a two-run first.
“He comes in after a home run,” Wainwright says, “and the first thing he does is he walks right up to me and says, ‘We got you.'”
Said Goldschmidt: “I mean, honestly, for me, that’s one of my favorite home runs I’ve ever hit in my entire life.”
Trey Turner, who had not batted ninth in a start until this contest, already had a USA record in the WBC with four home runs and 10 RBI.
“I keep saying every time he goes deep,” US manager Mark DeRosa said, “who’s a fool to hit him in the ninth? But the way this lineup is built.
– Bob Nightingale
The Cuban bullpen catcher defects after the team’s loss in the WBC
Cuban bullpen catcher Ivan Brito Gonzalez left Cuba following the national team’s loss to the United States in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic in Miami.
This story was first reported by the Miami Herald. The outlet said the Cuban team was scheduled to depart Miami International Airport on Monday following the team’s loss at Lone Depot Park on Sunday night, but before the flight, Gonzalez was not on the plane and was staying in Miami.
Gonzalez played eight seasons in the Cuban National Series, the country’s top professional baseball league, with Sabuzos de Holguin and Alazanes de Granma.
– Jordan Mendoza
‘Hate to see it’: Team USA pitcher feels miserable after pitch breaks Jose Altuve’s thumb
After a rough night of sleep, Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard Waking up on Sunday was miserable.
It got worse day by day.
Team USA reliever Bart, who suddenly lost control of his pitches Saturday night, struck out Houston Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Alduve in a 9-7 win over Venezuela.
He believed it was nothing more than a sprained or badly bruised thumb, but Altuve was diagnosed with a broken thumb Sunday morning. He had surgery this week and will be out for 8 to 10 weeks.
“I feel terrible,” Bart told USA TODAY Sports in the dugout before Sunday’s game against Cuba. “I was sinking on a swing. I failed. You hate to see it. You saw my reaction.”
Bart whimpered the moment the fastball hit Altuve, head down and praying he was okay as he lay on the ground in pain.
“You want to embarrass some guys in the box,” Bard said, “but not to the point of hurting them.”
– Bob Nightingale
Who is on the USA team roster?
Six years after winning the 2007 World Baseball Classic, Team USA has its The best group of Major League Baseball stars to date.
Managed by Mark DeRosa, the 30-man roster included MVP winners Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Paul Goldschmidt (Clayton Kershaw had to leave) and some great players like Nolan Arenado, Trea Turner, Tim Anderson and Pete. Alonso.