If you haven’t been following the World Baseball Classic, you’ve been missing out. Five-way ties, epic bat flips, and awesome stories have all combined to bring an incredibly compelling experience. Sure beats the hell out of mid-March spring dog days!
Today is the last day of the group stage, and the knockout round has already begun, with Cuba winning a tight 4-3 game against Australia to move on to the semifinals. Venezuela capped off a perfect 4-0 run with a 5-1 victory over Israel, and Mexico won big against Canada 10-3 to clinch the top spot in Pool C.
Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, 4pm PDT
This is the big one. Two teams absolutely loaded with talent, and it’s win-or-go-home for each of them. The vibes down in Miami are uh, lit.
Between JULIOOOOOO, Teoscar Hernández - who is unfortunately not in the starting lineup - and Diego Castillo, there are plenty of M’s to cheer on for the DR, but Puerto Rico has a few familiar faces, too: Edwin Díaz, Héctor Santiago, and Emilio Pagán could all see some work.
United States vs. Colombia, 7pm PDT
The final game in the group stage is also pretty high-stakes. A win for the US would guarantee them moving on to the knockout stage, but should Colombia pull off the upset, a three-way tie between these two teams and the loser of Mexico/Canada would throw a pretty big wrench into things. A helpful snippet from Yahoo Sports’s recap puts it in clearer terms:
We don’t need to get into all the math, but here’s the state of play: If Team USA loses by four runs or fewer, the Americans advance so long as they don’t allow more than 11 runs. If Colombia wins by five or more runs, it advances so long as it doesn’t allow more than 13 runs. Basically, Canada would be praying for a comically high-scoring game, and the U.S would enter the game with a virtual lead of four runs on Colombia.
There’s no lineup for this game out just yet, but we will update this article when one comes through. For now, get strapped in for what should be a thrilling last day of group play!