The Dominican Republic continued their World Baseball Classic dominance, ending the Netherlands‘ Cinderella run in the tournament and punching their ticket into the finals against Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico upset the two-time defending champions Japan 3-1, backed by a clutch two-run home run from Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios. Puerto Rico will be in tough against the Dominican Republic, already having lost to them twice in the tourney (albeit both were close games, at 4-2 and 2-0 respectively).
The Dominican team will look to clinch the classic going undefeated as they have yet to lose in the tourney while running the gauntlet. The team is backed by an All-Star team of major leaguers that include Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Nelson Cruz.
The championship game will take place at AT&T Park on Tuesday at 8 pm eastern time, with neither squad having announced their starting pitchers for the winner-take-all contest. Puerto Rico has veteran righty Nelson Figueroa, who twirled a gem against Team USA on Friday, but it is unknown if he is available to pitch on four day’s rest.
It would seem more likely that Puerto Rico will look to Giancarlo Alvarado instead in their attempt to upset the dominant Dominicans.
Team DR could counter with Samuel Deduno, who last pitched Thursday against the United States. Deduno is 1-0 with a 1.13 earned run average in two World Baseball Classic starts.
Regardless of who toes the rubber. the stage is set for a great finale between two baseball powerhouses. Fittingly, a new WBC winner will be crowned in San Francisco on Tuesday evening.
Clayton Richer covers the Toronto Blue Jays for Rant Sports. Follow and interact with him on Twitter at @MLBHotCorner.