The World Baseball Classic's second round will feature a big game between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on Tuesday.
The last time these two teams faced off in the WBC, was in the 2013 championship game. It was there that the Dominican team walked off with the title in a 3-0 final. The championship was the first for the Dominican Republic in the WBC, and it was the best run for the Puerto Rican team thus far.
This time around, the two teams enter with perfect 3-0 records. Team Dominican Republic swept Pool C in Miami, though the wins did not always come easily. Team Puerto Rico meanwhile dominated the competition in Mexico. The second round will feature the same Round Robin style set-up as the initial round did. D.R. and P.R. could only face one another in the round again in a potential tie-breaker game.
In round one, Puerto Rico outscored opposing teams by a margin of 29-7. Everything was clicking for the team, and they played with a lot of energy and passion. Despite being in hostile territory at times, Team Puerto Rican maintained composure and continued to play smart fundamental baseball. A lot of the credit for that could go to skipper Edwin Rodriguez. The manager previously spent time with the Florida Marlins, and has been a big part of Puerto Rico's national team.
Passion and excitement of course go hand in hand with Team Dominican Republic as well. Marlins Park set attendance records when the Dominican team took the field, and those on the scene reported previously unheard levels of noise at the complex. The players played each play like it was game seven of the World Series, and had a never-quit attitude.
Winning the first game of pool play in the WBC is a critical mission. It could determine whether your team moves to the Semi-Finals in Los Angeles or not. While the loser of this game could still advance from San Diego, the path becomes much more difficult after even one defeat. Due to this, both the Puerto Rican team and the Dominican team are expected to play all-out and try hard until the final out in this one.
The pitching match-up favors the Dominican Republic at least at the start. While Puerto Rico will send international player Orlando Roman to the mound, the Dominican Republic will counter with Carlos Martinez. The St. Louis Cardinals' right-hander can be dominant at times, and Team Puerto Rico could struggle to get any offense going against him.
Tuesday's game will take place at Petco Park in San Diego, California and will begin at 9:00 p.m.