In their first meeting in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, Team Canada hosts Team USA at the Rogers' Centre, yet the United States demands to bat last so Canada kindly obliges. ESPN broadcasts the game, with Dave O'Brien and Rick Sutcliffe calling the action in the booth.
In celebration of the game and the victory, we are offering up a breakdown between the two teams' offensive lineups and defensive positions, which will show you exactly how Team USA beat Team Canada. Team USA never made it past the second round in the 2006 WBC, losing to Canada twice.
Team USA is a much more talented team, chuck full of major leaguers in their prime at many key position. The same can not be said for Team Canada, and other teams in this international baseball round-robin tourney.
Canada's upset over the United States served as one of the main reasons Team USA failed to qualify for the semi-finals in 2006. This year, Team USA escapes Team Canada with a 6-5 comeback win, behind two clutch two-run bombs from Adam Dunn and Brian McCann, and avenges their embarrassing 8-6 defeat from our northern multicultural bilingual neighbors.
The Americanized Team Canada sends young inexperienced Mike Johnson, a relatively unknown pitcher, to the mound against Big Brother's Jake Peavy, whose off-season trade rumors effectively kills the hopes of Braves' delusional fans who envisioned another division crown and put on hold the Cubs' quest to break the curse of the Billy Goat and 100 years without a World Series birth.
Peavy remains a San Diego Padre for the time being. American starter Peavy, a right-handed hurler, faces a left-heavy Canadian lineup, but the manager Davey Johnson and the United States' weak rotation do not posses much quality left-hand starting pitching beyond the former Cy Young winner.
Canada's best pitcher may be Scott Richmond, but since we've never heard of him either, we're banking the Americans pull of an easy victory, thus avenging one of their two disappointing showings against the Canadians during the 2006 mid-Winter classic.
Fresh off the greatest season in his young career, the reigning 2008 American League MVP and Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia leads off for Team USA.
Team Canada sports current Washington Nationals utility-player Pete Orr who batted first last WBC, now bats last this time. Orr barely hit above the Mendoza line last season for the underachieving, last-place finishing, America's hometown Nationals.
Four-time World Series champion, New York Yankee Hall-of-Famer Derek Jeter starts at short and bats second for Team USA, with shortstop Chris Barnwell leading off for Team Canada. Barnwell will never come close to the greatest MLB player never linked to steroids and fails your fantasy eyeball test, so no background check necessary for Barnwell.
Mets' third basemen David Wright bats cleanup and needs to get hot early for US to win. However, a productive Wright in the WBC means nothing when he colossal Citifield slump down the stretch positions the Mets for a collapse to Chris-send in the new Shea stadium.
Canadian third base Mark Teahen opposes Wright at third and even though we're unfamiliar with Teahen's defensive skills, he's nowhere near the gold-grove capability of Mr. Met.
Kevin Youkilis plays first base and bats fifth for Team USA. Opposing him at first, the Canadian's favorite amateur hockey turned professional baseball player, Justin Morneau. Morneau ratcheted up his game the last WBC a .308 AVG, three doubles, and two RBI in three games.
At his best, Youkilis' killer instinct fails in comparison to Morneau's all-round hitting and defensive prowess, but when applied steals the show.
Atlanta failed to win the NL East last season, missing the playoffs for the third straight year. The lone bright spot, Chipper Jones, enters his 16th Braves' season at third base, leading the majors last year in batting average, hitting at a .364 clip.
As the designated hitter for the American team, Chipper needs the rest to perform at an all-star level ahead need in the cleanup spot.
Joey Votto also bats third and plays DH for the Canadians. A power-hitter, with significant major league experience, proven to provide an offensive pop to any lineup
Adam Dunn was the only player in the majors to hit 40 home runs in the last five seasons, despite staggering strikeout totals each season, his high on-base percentage and walks makes him a productive player worth batting sixth in any starting lineup.
The only player to strike out more in his career than Dunn: Steroid-laden power-hitter Matt Stairs, whose poor outfield (RF) defensive skills puts him barely ahead of Dunn in that category.
As the starting center fielder for the World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies, Shane Victorinio gives the Americans a legitimate stolen base threat, speed in the outfield, and pesky at-bats at the bottom of the batting order.
After a trade deadline deal sent Hall-of-Famer Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers for Pirates center fielder Jason Bay, Bay never put up numbers near Ramirez, but we'll still rank him higher on our depth chart than the Flyin' Hawaiian.
Actually Ryan Braun plays left field for Team USA, but with Canadian enigma Nicholas Weglarz out in left, we figured we'd talk about people other people care to read. No offense Wegalrz, we're sure you're a fine baseball player who's never done steroids, hence you are temporary a player we've never heard. Feel free to prove us wrong.
If Braun, a hot young prospect for the Milwaukee Brewers who just moved to LF last season, performs at the All-Star level he did last season, Team USA will go far in this tournament and the Brew Crew will go deep into the post season.
All-Star Braves catcher, Brian McCann earned the Silver Slugger award last season for his .301 AVG. 23 HRs, and major league leading 42 doubles. His mere presence eighth in the order proves the United States lineup is stacked from top to bottom with incredible major-leaguers.
Team Canada' catcher and Los Angeles Dodgers' starter Russell Martin, is batting second. He gives the Dodgers a much better chance at repeating as NL West champions then he does helping Canada sneak a win out over the United States of America.