The 2017 World Baseball Classic is nearing its end, with the championship game scheduled to take place Wednesday night at Dodgers Stadium. But before the title can be awarded, we have to figure out who’ll be playing for it.
The semifinals will begin on Monday, with the. The winner will advance to the final, and will face the winner of Tuesday’s game between the United States and Japan.
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The United States will send Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark to the mound — a surprising choice over Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer. Roark did not fare well in his only tournament action to date, allowing three hits and three runs in 1 1/3 innings of work. Of course, the U.S. lineup should feature sufficient starpower, though it’s unclear if manager Jim Leyland will do the seemingly smart thing and turn to Paul Goldschmidt and Buster Posey — each of whom sat to begin last game.
Japan is by far the most experienced team remaining, having won both the 2006 and 2009 tournaments, and finished third in 2013. They are expected to start Tomoyuki Sugano, who has allowed five runs in 8 1/3 innings thus far. The best known player in the United States on the Japan roster is outfielder Nori Aoki. Otherwise this is a squad bereft of big-league talent.