The United States, Italy, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico advanced through from Pools C and D to make it to the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The Dominican Republic and the United States won Pools C and D, respectively, to make it to the second round while Puerto Rico and Italy were runners-up in Pools C and D, respectively.
The second round of the tournament is a modified double-elimination format. This means that the first five games will be played just like a normal double-elimination tournament, but when the team from the loser's side makes it to the finals to play the team from the winner's side, they will only need to win one game as opposed to winning two, which is the case in a true double-elimination format.
The reason behind this is that both of these teams in the finals will be advancing to the next round regardless of the outcome of their final game against one another; that final game is just being used to determine who goes through as the pool winner and as the pool runner-up.
All games from Pool 2 of the second round can once again be seen on MLB Network, and all games will take place from Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. All times listed in the schedule are EST.
March 12, 1 p.m.- Italy vs Dominican Republic
March 12, 8 p.m,- Puerto Rico vs United States
March 13, 7 p.m.- Game 1 Loser vs Game 2 Loser
March 14, 7 p.m.- Game 1 Winner vs Game 2 Winner
March 15, 7 p.m.- Game 3 Winner vs Game 4 Loser
March 16, 1 p.m.- Game 5 Winner vs Game 4 Winner
United States (3-0)
Things will get significantly harder for the United States in Pool 2 play, but the Americans will be up for the challenge. The United States began to swing the bats very well over the course of this past weekend, and it eventually led to the Americans blowing away Canada in the final innings of their game on Sunday.
The Dominican Republic will prove to be the toughest test for the United States, but thanks to an incredibly strong bullpen, the Americans will be able to get through Pool 2 undefeated and advance into the semifinals.
Dominican Republic (2-2)
The Dominican Republic lineup is absolutely stacked with MLB superstars. The pitching is not nearly as good, however, and that will ultimately be the downfall of the Dominican team.
That downfall will not come in this round, though. The firepower on offense will be enough to lead them through games against Italy and Puerto Rico but not against the United States. Ultimately, the Dominican team will end up as the runner-up in Pool 2, which is good enough for a semifinal spot.
Puerto Rico (1-2)
Puerto Rico opens up with a tough matchup against the United States, but after advancing through a very difficult Pool C, this team is no stranger to tough matchups.
Much like the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico should have little trouble against the Italian side but will not quite have enough to beat the United States. In the end, the fifth game of Pool 2 will be a showdown between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with the winner advancing into the semifinals. On Sunday, the Dominican Republic showed that it is a little stronger then Puerto Rico, and the Dominicans will show that once again this week.
Most people are surprised that the Italians even made it this far. Give credit where credit is due, but we also have to acknowledge that they defeated two very inconsistent teams in Mexico and Canada.
This time around, the competition is going to be a lot tougher, and Italy will not be ready for the challenge. The Italians had a good run, but this round will be a little too tough for them.
The Dominican Republic and the United States will likely square off in two very exciting battles in Pool 2. Ultimately, the United States will show that it is the more balanced side because of its pitching, and it will go to the semifinals as the champion while the Dominicans advance as the runners-up.
Make sure to check back and see all the previews for each game of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.