The Americans are in the World Baseball Classic semifinals for just the second time, the last time coming in 2009 when they fell to eventual champion Japan 9-4. Team USA has formed lasting bonds in this tournament, but would like to take home the trophy for the first time.
Standing in their way are the two-time champions from Japan, who fell in the semis for the first time in the 2013 tournament. The Japanese have won all six of their contests in the WBC so far, by a combined score of 46-22. Their closest game was an 8-6 extra inning win over the Netherlands in the second round. An injury kept baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani from participating in the WBC, but Japan still has a talented club with pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano, who will start against Team USA, first baseman Sho Nakata, and outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo. The team also features former Royals outfielder Nori Aoki, the only MLB player on the roster.
Team USA will start Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark in what should be a wild atmosphere.
"As far as the atmosphere and energy goes, this is comparable to a playoff game, to a World Series game.”
The game will air live from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on MLB Network on online at MLB TV. The winner will take on Puerto Rico in the WBC Finals on Wednesday night.
.@USABaseball will start this lineup against Japan tonight at 9pE with a spot in the @WBCBaseball Final on the line. #WBC2017 pic.twitter.com/uRHBYUdO2c— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 21, 2017