Tonight is the old school matchup between flash and power, against fundamentals and poise. Tonight team USA will take on team Japan in the WBC semi final in Los Angeles, for the chance to punch their ticket to the final to face Puerto Rico on Wednesday. USA’s journey here was everything but easy.
Two weeks ago they started pool play competition in Miami against Colombia in a game they were suppose to win easily. However they struggled and had to fight to get the win in extra innings. The next night they faced the defending champions and favorites to win the tournament again this year, The Dominican Republic. A sold out Saturday night crowd ,which happened to be composed of mostly fans that were of Latin decent, filled the Miami air with an electric atmosphere. The Americans jumped out to an early lead but imploded in the later innings due to a poor bullpen effort, and a late Nelson Cruz go ahead 3 run dinger. The US would go on to fall that night 7-5 but knew they would have a chance for revenge later in the tournement if the played up to expectations.
During a win or go home Sunday, the Americans absolutely obliterated Canada and headed to San Diego for the second round. On Wednesday night, the US played a highly talented Venezuela team and went on to win due to a late rally thanks to two clutch homers by Adam Jones and Eric Hosmer. Two nights and a tough loss later to a stacked Puerto Rican team it was win or go home once again. Facing elimination, who was in their way? None other but the defending champs, the all mighty Dominicans. The US would get sweet revenge knocking the champs out of the tournament and advancing to the semi final.
They are now playing in the WBC semi-final and are looking to win it all. For team Japan, the story is almost the polar opposite of the Americans. They go into tonight’s game with a perfect record of 6-0 in tournement play and for the most part have not been tested. Led by strong starting pitching, an amazing defense that makes hardly any mistakes and an offense that has more pop than popcorn, team Japan will be a very hard out in this years WBC.
My prediction? I think it will be some what of a slug fest. Starting for team USA is Tanner Roark who looked shaky in his previous appearance and struggled to locate his pitches. If there’s one thing I know about this team from Japan, is that they know how to put runs on the board and put baseballs in the seats. Dodger Stadium is known to be a hitters ballpark so we should see a plethora of runs tonight. I think that Japan will jump out to an early lead but the Americans will do what they have done the whole tournament, fight back, and battle. This USA team has a never say die attitude and refuses to go down no matter how big the deficit. I do know one thing for sure, this game is sure to entertain tonight and you need to drop anything you’re doing tonight at 9pm. because this is going to be a game you don’t want to miss. Final score: USA 8, Japan 6.