World Baseball Classic 2013: USA vs. Puerto Rico TV Info, Preview and More

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World Baseball Classic 2013: USA vs. Puerto Rico TV Info, Preview and More
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

At the conclusion of this highly anticipated contest between the United States and Puerto Rico, the championship round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic will be set.

The winner will advance to join the Dominican Republic, Japan and the Netherlands in the “Final Four” of this tournament.

If this game is in any way similar to the initial matchup between these two nations, the Americans will easily advance.

Gio Gonzalez took the mound on Tuesday and pitched well against the Puerto Ricans for five scoreless innings, while the bullpen and bats did the rest. The U.S. went on to win, 7-1.

Will Ryan Vogelsong and the offense find the same success on Friday, or will the Americans falter in this critical ballgame?

Keep reading to find out where to watch the action, see our prediction on the final score and more in our USA vs. Puerto Rico preview.

 

When: Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Marlins Park; Miami, Fla.

Watch: MLB Network, ESPN Deportes

Starting Pitchers: Ryan Vogelsong (USA, RHP) vs. Nelson Figueroa (PR, RHP)

Starting Lineups

 

Puerto Rico

 

USA

CF

Angel Pagan 

SS

Jimmy Rollins

LF

Jesus Feliciano 

2B

Brandon Phillips

DH

Carlos Beltran 

LF

Ryan Braun

C

Yadier Molina 

C

Joe Mauer

SS

Mike Aviles 

RF

Giancarlo Stanton

RF

Alex Rios 

3B

Ben Zobrist

1B

Saul Rivera 

1B

Eric Hosmer

3B

Andy Gonzalez 

CF

Adam Jones

2B

Irving Falu 

DH

Shane Victorino

 

Key Player for Team USA: Joe Mauer

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins catcher has been nothing short of dominant during the 2013 WBC.

He’s hitting .444 with a 1.101 OPS, making Joe Torre’s decision to bat him fourth in the order look brilliant.

Against Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Mauer was able to draw three walks and assist David Wright in putting together an incredible five-RBI outing.

Behind the plate, the 29-year-old has done a great job adapting to the many different and unfamiliar pitchers he’s had to work with during his tenure with Team USA—with the notable exception of R.A. Dickey (J.P. Arencibia catches for the knuckleballer).

If the veteran can string together another excellent outing, it would go a long way toward helping the United States stave off elimination.

 

Key Player for Puerto Rico: Alex Rios

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

This Chicago White Sox right fielder has been the definition of clutch for Puerto Rico.

On Wednesday night, Rios scored the winning run after the nation rallied for a come-from-behind, 4-3 win against Italy that knocked their opponent out of the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

The nine-year veteran made the sage decision to keep running for home after Italian shortstop Jack Santora made an errant throw to first after fielding Andy Gonzalez’s infield hit. This mistake allowed Rios to score standing up.

Prior to that, Rios hit a single to put a runner in scoring position and set up a Luis Figueroa sacrifice fly to tie things up in the eighth.

Should Rios and the Puerto Rican offense continue this type of smart, crafty offense, they will present a major challenge to the Americans in a do-or-die matchup.

 

Prediction: USA 3 – Puerto Rico 2

Which team will win?

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Expect a contest that will be much closer than the first meeting between these countries.

Both are playing for national pride and a chance to advance to San Francisco to close out the 2013 WBC as champions, but they have to get it done on Friday to get there.

We’re giving the edge to Team USA, as it has the better lineup from top to bottom.

The American bats have been excellent, their pitching superb and momentum is on their side, which should be enough to notch a "W."

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