What to watch for in all 8 World Baseball Classic games Saturday

Because of the time zone concerns that include hosting an occasion in several hemispheres, the World Baseball Classic, up until now, has actually had a staggered schedule. Pools A and B, in Taichung and Tokyo, respectively, have actually currently had each of its groups play a minimum of 2 video games, while Pools C and D, in Phoenix and Miami, haven’t started yet. One of the appeals of this competition is that video games can occur all over the world however still remain in the exact same bracket. But we haven’t had a complete day of Classic insanity right now.

That modifications on Saturday.

There are 8 video games on Saturday, with the very first beginning at 5 a.m. ET and the last one beginning at 11 p.m. ET. If you desire — and you should! — you can view the World Baseball Classic all early morning, all afternoon and all night.

Having high-stakes baseball in early March is interesting enough. But each of these video games has a fascinating story of its own, whether you’re a WBC fan, an MLB fan or, probably, both. Here’s something to look for in each video game.

Czech Republic vs. Japan
5 a.m. ET, FS1

This may be the video game of the day, right off the bat. Japan has actually been the very best group in the competition up until now and sure appears like the powerhouse of Pools A and B. Shohei Ohtani is the star, obviously, however everyone on this group is striking, consisting of Lars Nootbaar, who has the entire Japanese group grinding the pepper like he made with the Cardinals in 2015. But in this video game, Japan is playing the WBC’s sweeties, the Czech Republic, a group loaded with firemens and polices and high school instructors that won its Classic opener in the most remarkable style. With Korea’s 0-2 start, the door has actually been split for the Czech group to slip into the next round. A win over Japan, nevertheless unlikely it may be, might unofficially clinch that. This video game is precisely what this occasion is everything about.

Netherlands vs. Chinese Taipei
6 a.m. ET, FS2

The Netherlands was most likely the preferred in Pool A heading into the competition, and it couldn’t have actually requested for a much better start, with tight wins over Cuba and Panama. A win over Chinese Taipei would basically advance the Dutch to the next round. Their success has not originate from their lineup, however from their pitching; they’ve quit just 3 runs in 2 video games. Much of that has actually originated from their superb defense, which has a lot of MLB-top-quality infielders to even fit on the field. Chinese Taipei can resolve that issue by striking the ball over the wall; their 4 homers up until now are the most in the competition.

Nicaragua vs. Puerto Rico
Noon ET, FS2

Colombia vs. Mexico
2:30 p.m. ET, FOX

You would believe Mexico — presently ranked No. 5 in the WBSC rankings — would have an abundant history in the Classic, however the nation has actually never ever ended up greater than 6th. If the Mexicans are seeking to leave this swimming pool, this is a big video game for them, with the United States and Canada looming. They’ve got the best pitcher on the mound — group captain Julio Urías, total with some extraordinary Mexico flag cleats — and prime-time-mid-day tv protection too. Colombia remains in just its 2nd Classic and has its hands complete with Urías and a very determined Mexican group.

Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela
7 p.m. ET, FS1

Great Britain vs. United States
9 p.m. ET, FOX

The stacked U.S.A. lineup might need to enhance an unsteady pitching personnel, especially atop the rotation, however if you’re stressed over the absence of zip on Adam Wainwright’s fastball — which has actually been a severe concern up until now in Spring Training — this might offer him with a get-right video game; he won’t deal with a weaker lineup than Great Britain’s all season. Great Britain hasn’t revealed a beginning pitcher yet, however facing this Turner/Trout/Goldschmidt/Arenado/Tucker onslaught, possibly the Brits understand, however they’re simply keeping him in concealing for his own security.

Czech Republic vs. Korea
10 p.m. ET, FS1

This is just how much fantastic baseball there is on Saturday: You get to view the Czech group two times. Korea has actually left to the worst start you can possibly imagine up until now, losing both of its video games regardless of a lineup that looked efficient in possibly assembling a deep run in the Classic. For all the love the Czech group has actually amassed, this is definitely a must-win for them. With a win vs. Japan possibly excessive to expect, making a split on Saturday would be an enormous success.

Chinese Taipei vs. Cuba
11 p.m. ET, FS2

Cuba recuperated from its rough start to the Classic with a vital win over Panama on Thursday, and while they still require a little aid, a win over Chinese Taipei here might be enough to get the Cubans into the next round; they’ll require the Netherlands to assist them out versus Italy on Sunday. This has actually been a Cuban group unlike any other, and there’s a non-zero possibility that this is the last time you ever get to see Yoenis Céspedes play. I can’t consider a much better factor to view right there.

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