It's Team USA vs. Japan in the 2023 World Baseball Classic championship game on Tuesday in Miami. The United States, which won the last WBC in 2017, is attempting to defends its title. Japan, which won the first two World Baseball Classics, is attempting to lift the trophy for the third time. Japan is the only nation to win more than one WBC. Suffice it to say, the stakes are high in this title game.
Japan mounted a thrilling comeback win over Mexico on Monday night in their semifinal matchup to stay unbeaten in the tournament. Team USA beat Venezuela in come-from-behind fashion thanks to Trea Turner's grand slam in the quarterfinals on Saturday before dismantling Cuba in a blowout win Sunday. Turner then got the scoring started Tuesday night when he launched a second inning home run to put Team USA up 1-0, but Japan came back quickly and took a 3-1 lead.
You can view the full tournament results to date by clicking here. Now let's move on to how you can watch USA-Japan.
USA vs. Japan how to watch
Date: Tuesday, March 21 | Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: loanDepot Park (Miami)
TV channel: FS1 | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Odds: USA -135; Japan +115; O/U: 9.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Starting pitchers: RHP Merrill Kelly (USA) vs. LHP Shōta Imanaga (Japan)
Players to watch
Shohei Ohtani is coming off a clutch performance in the comeback win over Mexico in the semis, and he figures to be batting third against Kelly and the U.S. He's Japan's most accomplished hitter, and his power will probably be needed in this one if Japan is to prevail. Ohtani is also worth watching because there's a chance that he'll pitch in relief and maybe even face Angels teammate Mike Trout.
Across the way, hot-hitting Trea Turner merits your attention on the U.S. side. If Team USA prevails, then Turner will likely be named tournament MVP. The star shortstop notched a script-flipping grand slam in the quarterfinals, and he had a two-homer game in the USA romp over Cuba in the semis. For the 2023 tournament, Turner, who inked a big contract with the Phillies this offseason, is slashing .368/.429/1.000 with four home runs. It speaks to the strength of the U.S. lineup that Turner will likely be batting ninth in manager Mark DeRosa's order.
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This is a true clash of WBC titans, and it figures to be a hotly contested affair. Team USA may have a slight edge thanks all their right-handed bats of All-Star caliber that will seize the platoon advantage against Imanaga. As well, the Americans have a fully rested bullpen thanks to Monday's off day and Sunday's easy win over Cuba.
Pick: USA 4, Japan 3