After Great Britain scored a shocking win over Colombia on Monday, the USA now controls its own destiny to emerge from pool play in the World Baseball Classic. A win over that same Colombia team on Wednesday would propel the Americans into the elimination tournament portion of the event.
However, Mexico could also finish 3-1 and would get the first spot in the quarterfinals since they beat Team USA head-to-head. A loss to Colombia would put the USA at 2-2 and likely in a tiebreaker situation with either Canada or Colombia. However, if Canada beats Mexico then the USA would advance as the top seed thanks to their win over their Northern neighbors.
USA (2-1) vs Colombia (1-2)
How to Watch:
- Date: Wednesday, March 15th
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- Channel: FS1
- RF Mookie Betts (Dodgers)
- CF Mike Trout (Angels)
- 1B Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals)
- 3B Nolan Arenado (Cardinals)
- DH Kyle Schwarber (Phillies)
- LF Kyle Tucker (Astros)
- 2B Tim Anderson (White Sox)
- SS Trea Turner (Phillies)
- C J.T. Realmuto (Phillies)
SP: Merrill Kelly (Diamondbacks)
- RF Harold Ramirez (Rays)
- 3B Gio Urshela (Angels)
- DH Jorge Alfaro (Red Sox)
- 1B Reynaldo Rodriguez (former Twins prospect)
- LF Dilson Herrera (former Oriole)
- C Meibrys Viloria (Giants prospect)
- 2B Jordan Diaz (Athletics prospect)
- CF Oscar Mercado (Guardians)
- SS Dayan Frias (Guardians prospect)
SP: Julio Teheran (former Brave, among others)
After looking sluggish in defeating Great Britain 6-2 and then getting trounced by Mexico 11-5 on Sunday night, Team USA bounced back in a big way on Monday when they obliterated Canada 12-1.
Starter Lance Lynn (Chicago White Sox) went five innings, striking out six and allowing just one run on two hits. Miles Mikolas (St. Louis Cardinals) relieved him for two scoreless innings before the game was called due to mercy rule after seven innings.
The Team USA offense got off to a really fast start against Mitch Bratt, who’s a 19-year-old prospect for the Texas Rangers who hasn’t pitched above Single-A. The left-haded Bratt allowed six runs and three hits with three walks in just 0.1 innings of work; although, most of the damage came off of reliever R.J. Freure (Astros prospect) who gave up home runs to Trea Turner and Mike Trout as part of a nine-run first inning.
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson led Team USA with two hits, going 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI, and a stolen base, while Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto finished 2-for-2 with two RBIs of his own.
In their deciding game of World Baseball Classic pool play, Team USA will turn to Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly on the mound. The 34-year-old had a 3.37 ERA in 200.1 innings last year for Arizona and has a career 3.35 ERA while pitching at Arizona’s Chase Field, which is convenient since that’s where Wednesday night’s game will be played.
Team Colombia has a few major league players in their lineup as well, including former New York Yankee and current Angels Gio Urshela, Donovan Solano of the Twins, Harold Ramirez of the Rays, Oscar Mercado of the Guardians, and catcher Jorge Alfaro of the Red Sox. First baseman Jordan Díaz is also an intriguing prospect who made his major league debut with the Athletics last year.
With Padres right-hander Nabil Crismatt starting their win over Mexico in game one of the World Baseball Classic and William Cuevas starting in the loss to Great Britain, the team turned to Angels prospect Adrian Almeida on Wednesday, who was let down by his bullpen in Colombia’s loss to Canada. That means Team USA might see former big league pitcher Julio Teheran, who pitched in independent ball last year.
While this USA team doesn’t have the most dynamic pitching staff, its depth is a deciding factor in the World Baseball Classic. There are few teams who have a fourth starter that is Merrill Kelly’s caliber, and that should be a huge boost for the Americans. They also know how much is at stake as the defending World Baseball Classic champions and certainly don’t want to risk getting eliminated in pool play. I expect a big performance out of them in a game they desperately need to win if they hope to advance outside of pool play at the World Baseball Classic.