World Baseball Classic 2013 Schedule: Look Ahead to This Weekend's Action

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2013

TAICHUNG, TAIWAN - MARCH 05:  Andruw Jones #25 and Jonathan Balentina #29 of Netherlands celebrate with team-mates after victory against Australia during the World Baseball Classic First Round Group B match between Australia and the Netherlands at Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on March 5, 2013 in Taichung, Taiwan.  (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

After a prologue that got fans back into the baseball groove, the 2013 World Baseball Classic really kicks into gear this weekend with a full slate of action, with games featuring teams everyone expects to compete for the championship and the end of Pool Play. 

Pool A and B gave us a glimpse of what will come, but Pool C and D bring the star power and countries that will ultimately define this year's event. 

Japan, Cuba, Chinese Taipei and Netherlands already secured spots in the second round by virtue of their performances in Pool A and B. The eight remaining countries will battle over the weekend to set the final half of the second-round. 

Here is a look at the weekend schedule (Friday to Sunday) for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. 


Pool C

 Spain vs. Puerto Rico  Fri. March 8 at 5:30 p.m.  MLB Network
 Dominican Republic vs. Spain  Sat. March 9 at 11:00 a.m.  MLB Network
 Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela  Sat. March 9 at 5:30 p.m.  MLB Network
 Spain vs. Venezuela  Sun. March 10 at 12:30 p.m.  MLB Network
 Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico  Sun. March 10 at 7:30 p.m.  MLB Network


The Dominican Republic and Venezuela are the top two teams in Pool C. Venezuela's pitching staff was dealt a huge blow when Felix Hernandez withdrew from the event to prepare for the Major League Baseball season.

Both teams have lineups that should score plenty of runs in this round.

Venezuela is led by 2012 American League MVP Miguel Cabrera. The Dominican squad is powered by Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes. 


Pool D

 Canada vs. Italy  Fri. March 8 at 2:30 p.m.  MLB Network
 Mexico vs. United States  Fri. March 8 at 9:00 p.m.  MLB Network
 Canada vs. Mexico  Sat. March 9 at 2:30 p.m.  MLB Network
 United States vs. Italy  Sat. March 9 at 9:00 p.m.  MLB Network
 United States vs. Canada  Sun. March 10 at 4:00 p.m.  MLB Network


The United States is the team to beat in Pool D. The roster is loaded with talent from the big leagues, including an outfield you would see in an All-Star game (Ryan Braun, Giancarlo Stanton and Adam Jones). 

What's even better for the U.S. team is the fact that the pitching is stacked. That has been a problem area for this country in past WBC apperances, but the staff is led by R.A. Dickey and Gio Gonzalez. The bullpen has Craig Kimbrel, Jeremy Affeldt and Vinnie Pestano. 

Canada looks like the No. 2 team in this pool. The offense has plenty of pop, with Joey Votto, Justin Morneau and Brett Lawrie. If the pitching can hold up, it would not be a shock to see this team advance. 


Second Round

 Japan/Cuba vs. Chinese Taipei  Thu. March 7 at 10:00 p.m.  MLB Network
 Netherlands vs. Japan/Cuba  Fri. March 8 at 5:00 a.m.  MLB Network
 Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser  Sat. March 9 at 5:00 a.m.  MLB Network
 Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner  Sun. March 10 at 6:00 a.m.  MLB Network


After the round-robin format of Pool Play, the second round of the World Baseball Classic features a modified double-elimination format. Teams will have a chance to make up for one bad day by going up against another team in a winner-survives situation. 

The four teams in this bracket represent the four teams that came out of Pool A and B, which finished on Wednesday with a clash between Japan and Cuba.