The USA Baseball National Team is back on the world stage at the Tokyo Olympics. The 2020 Games are Team USA's fourth Olympic appearance and first since 2008, after the sport was left out of the London 2012 Summer Olympics and the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. CBS Sports' Dayn Perry broke down everything you need to know about baseball at the Summer Olympic Games here.
Team USA began their campaign for baseball gold on Friday when they defeated Israel, 8-1. USA is 1-0 in pool play, and will next play the most recent Olympic champion South Korea on Saturday morning, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals.
In the win over Israel, the United States took a 3-0 lead in the third inning thanks to a two-run home run by former Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin, and the score remained 3-1 until the sixth inning. Right-hander Joe Ryan, who recently went from the Rays to the Twins in the Nelson Cruz trade, held Israel to a solo home run in six efficient innings.
The United States finished fourth in 1992, claimed bronze in 1996 and won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney when they defeated Cuba 4-0 in the final. Team USA failed to qualify in 2004 before earning a bronze medal in 2008 with an 8-4 win over Japan.
Team USA's 24-man roster includes notable MLB veterans in Scott Kazmir, Todd Frazier, and Edwin Jackson. Kazmir and Frazier appeared in the majors this season and have made multiple All-Star appearances in their careers.
Here's how to watch USA Baseball's second game against South Korea:
USA Baseball vs. South Korea
- When: 6 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 31 | Where: Fukushima Azuma Stadium
- TV channel: NBC Sports app | Live stream: NBCOlympics.com
- Starters: RHP Nick Martinez (USA); RHP Young-pyo Ko (South Korea)
- Odds: USA -190; South Korea +160 TBD (via William Hill Sportsbook)
The Olympic baseball competition begins with the group stage involving two groups of three teams each. Within those groups, each team will play a round-robin schedule -- i.e., each team in a group plays each of the other two teams in that same group for a total of six games across both groups. Teams are then ranked based on the results of the group stage, and then the knockout stage begins.
In the knockout stage, teams play under a double-elimination format. The top two seeds from the group stage in essence get a "bye" to the one quarterfinal. Meantime, the two seeds and three seeds will play each other, and the winners of those two games will advance to the other quarterfinal. The losers of those games will go to the loser's bracket and remain in the running for a spot in the semifinals. The winner of each quarterfinal goes to one semifinal, while the other semifinal is populated by the two teams emerging from the loser's bracket.
The winner of each quarterfinal meets in the first semifinal game, and the winner of that contest advances to the gold medal game, The loser will be placed in the second semifinal and face a team advancing from the loser's bracket. The winner of that game will advance to the gold medal game, while the loser will play for the bronze medal. Because of Tokyo's state of emergency due to COVID-19, there will be no fans at the games.
Olympic baseball tournament gold medal odds
Here are the odds entering the tournament via William Hill Sportsbook.