Undefeated and rested, the Dominican Republic have already clinched a spot in the championship rounds of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but have one more game remaining before their trip to San Francisco.
They will face Puerto Rico Saturday afternoon at Marlins Park in Miami in the final game of the second round. No matter the outcome, both teams will be in the championship round in San Francisco at At&T Park, but when they play must be decided.
The winner of Saturday’s game gets a day off and will face the Netherlands on Monday, and the loser meets Japan on Sunday.
Each club advanced to the next round beating Team USA. D.R. finished first with an impressive 3-1 victory Thursday over the U.S.
D.R. pelted reliever Craig Kimbrel for three hits and two runs in the top of the ninth, while Minnesota Twins starter Samuel Deduno recorded seven strikeouts with one earned run and five hits in four innings of work.
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The victory improved D.R’s overall record in the tournament to 5-0. Now in its third inception, Dominican Republic has never placed better than fourth in the World Baseball Classic.
Puerto Rico sent Team USA packing Friday in a 4-3 win, with Andy Gonzalez smacking a two-run double in the sixth. The U.S. staged an eighth inning rally for all three of their runs, but P.R.’s J.C. Romero pitched 1.1 innings for his first save of the tournament.
Wandy Rodriguez will take the mound for the Dominican club Saturday, while Puerto Rico counters with Orlando Roman. Rodriguez made one previous start, going 3.1 innings with two strikeouts. Roman had just as strong an outing, but went 5.0 innings giving up one run. Neither has earned a victory or loss during the tournament.
The game begins at 1 p.m. eastern time and will be televised by the MLB Network and ESPN Deportes, or you can submit your cable provider information and watch a live online stream at worldbaseballclassic.com.
Below are probable lineups for each team.
Angel Pagan, CF
Jesus Feliciano, LF
Carlos Beltran, DH
Yadier Molina, C
Mike Aviles, SS
Alex Rios, RF
Carlos Rivera, LB
Andy Gonzalez, 3B
Irving Falu, 2B
Jose Reyes, SS
Miguel Tejada, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Juan Encarnacion, 1B
Hanley Ramirez, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
Carlos Santana, C
Ricardo Nanita, LF
Alejandro De Aza, CF
Prediction: Dominican D.R. 2 , P.R. 1