The United States are set to play their first game of Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic.
Team USA will play Puerto Rico at 8 p.m. eastern time on Tuesday at Marlins Park. The contest will be broadcast on the MLB Network and ESPN Deportes. Viewers who have certain cable providers can watch a free live stream online at worldbaseballclassic.com.
In three games in Round 1, USA went 2-1, defeating Italy and Canada, but falling to Mexico in their first contest. David Wright has been the club’s best player, hitting .455 with one home run and 5 RBI. He hit a key grand slam in America’s victory over Canada.
Joe Mauer has also perfomed extremely well. In 12 at-bats, he’s driven in six runs with a .462 average. Even his backup, Jonathan Lucroy, has done well his in limited playing time, getting on base in three of his six plate appearances.
Ryan Bryan and Jimmy Rollins have also contributed, despite driving in a single run. The two are hitting .357 and .308, respectively.
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Giancarlo Stanton was expected to be one of the bigger threats in the U.S. lineup, but he has struggled in his first action of 2013. The Miami Marlins outfielder is hitless in seven at-bats.
Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez gets the call to start the ballgame. He just recently joined the team, having yet to play in the 2013 WBC.
Puerto Rico will send Mario Santiago to the hill. The starter hasn’t had much professional success, going 36-51 in seven minor league seasons and never making it to the Majors.
If Santiago doesn’t have a big game, Angel Pagan and Mike Aviles may have to continue their hot play to give Puerto Rico a chance. The two are hitting a combined .400 in three games with three extra base-hits and seven RBI.
Carlos Beltran and Alex Rios are probably the two best hitters for Puerto Rico. They’ve combined to drive in seven runs.
Team USA is expected to win. They are -250 favorites at sportsbook.ag.
Prediction: USA 6, PR 1