World Baseball Classic 2013 Schedule: Predicting Championship Round Matchups
It's been rough, physical and, at times, ugly. Through all of the commotion, however, we have reached the closing stages of the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
So who will break through and end up in the championship round?
Both Japan and Netherlands have found a way to break through and emerge victorious in Pool 1. Japan defeated Netherlands by a score of 10-6 on Mar. 12 and established its status as the Pool winner.
In turn, Japan will face the runner-up of Pool 2. Netherlands faces the winner of Pool 1.
Confused? Check the schedule.
|Game 3||Wed. March 13 at 7 p.m. ET||Italy @ Puerto Rico|
|Game 4||Thu. March 14 at 7 p.m. ET||Dominican Republic @ United States|
|Game 5||Fri. March 15 at 7 p.m. ET||Game 3 Winner @ Game 4 Loser|
|Game 6||Sat. March 16 at 1 p.m. ET||Game 5 winner @ Game 4 Winner|
|Semifinals||Sun. March 17 at 9 p.m. ET||Pool 2 Runner-Up @ Japan|
|Semifinals||Mon. March 18 at 9 p.m. ET||Netherlands @ Pool 2 Winner|
|Championship||Tue. March 19 at 8 p.m. ET||Semi 2 Winner @ Semi 1 Winner|
United States vs. Japan
In order to reach a game against Japan, the United States must win at least one of its games. Its certain opponent is the Dominican Republic, while potential showdowns with Italy and Puerto Rico could be looming.
So how will it all transpire?
The Dominican Republic is a powerhouse and will continue its hot streak against the Americans. Even with a recent rise in its pitching staff, Team USA will be unable to overcome the D.R.'s stacked lineup.
Fortunately, the Americans will have a chance at redemption.
The U.S. will have an opportunity to play the Game 3 winner with a spot in the championship round on the line. It is then that the Americans—led by David Wright—will come up in the clutch, once again, to advance.
Unfortunately, they'll lose to the D.R.—again. A status as the Pool 2 runner-up will push Team USA into a battle with Japan.
One that will be nothing short of memorable.
Netherlands vs. Dominican Republic
In order for the Dominican Republic to face Netherlands, it will need to win Pool 2. Seeing as the team started out 3-0 and owns the momentum headed into its final two games, there is a strong possibility that such transpires.
It all starts with a victory over the United States.
Team USA has been magnificent, rallying together in times of adversity and achieving victory in improbable manners. Most recently, the underdog Americans ended up thrashing Puerto Rico behind a brilliant pitching performance by Gio Gonzalez.
Unfortunately, the Americans will not have enough to top the team from the D.R.
With a dominant infield that includes Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes, Erick Aybar and Hanley Ramirez, the Dominican Republic will be too much to handle. In turn, the Americans will fall.
This will set up a potential game against the winner of Game 4. That will pose a tough task for the Republic, but it will find a way to win.
In turn, it will be named the Pool 2 winners and square off against Netherlands.
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