On Friday night, Team USA finds itself in an elimination game in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
The United States lost to the Dominican Republic on Thursday night in a bid to advance to the semifinals. The contest was knotted up at one in the ninth inning, when Craig Kimbrel allowed two runs on base hits by Erick Aybar and Jose Reyes.
Now, the U.S. must defeat Puerto Rico to move on to Round 3 of the WBC. The two clubs will square off at 7 p.m. ET at Marlins Park. MLB Network and ESPN Deportes will carry the game on TV, but viewers who have certain cable providers can watch a free live stream online at worldbaseballclassic.com.
It’s a rematch of Tuesday’s contest, in which the U.S. won 7-1, forcing Puerto Rico to play Italy on Wednesday to stay alive in the second round. They pulled out a one-run victory, and have a chance to be one of the final four teams remaining, with a win against the Americans.
The U.S. will send Ryan Vogelsong to the mound. He gave up two runs in a four-inning appearance in this year’s tournament. The San Francisco Giants starter helped lead the U.S. to a much-needed win after they lost their opening game to Mexico.
Nelson Figueroa is set to get the call for Puerto Rico. The starter hasn’t pitched in the MLB since 2011, and has also given up two runs in four innings in the 2013 WBC.
The U.S. will be forced to make do without their hottest player. David Wright missed Thursday’s contest with a sore back and was sent to New York to be examined further. Willy Bloomquist filled in for the third baseman, going hitless in two at-bats.
Shane Victorino will get the start in Wright’s place on Friday. He will be the designated hitter and Ben Zobrist, the usual DH, will shift over to third base.
Below are the starting lineups for each team, as well a prediction for who will move on to the third round.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Brandon Phillips, 2B
Ryan Braun, LF
Joe Mauer, C
Giancarlo Stanton, RF
Ben Zobrist, 3B
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Adam Jones, CF
Shane Victorino, DH
Angel Pagan, CF
Jesus Feliciano, LF
Carlos Beltran, DH
Yadier Molina, C
Mike Aviles, SS
Alex Rios, RF
Carlos Rivera, 1B
Andy Gonzalez, 3B
Irving Falu, 2B
Prediction: USA 8, Puerto Rico 2