The United States will try to win its second consecutive World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night, but it will have to beat Japan to do it at loanDepot Park in Miami.
It’s a battle of the two best offenses in the tournament, with Japan averaging 8.8 runs per game and the U.S. at 8.2.
Mookie Betts is heating up for Team USA, with six hits in his last three games, and has been hitting the ball hard throughout the tournament. His ex-teammate Trea Turner has gone supernova after pool play, hitting the game winning grand slam in Saturday’s quarterfinal against Venezuela, followed with two more home runs and four more RBI in Sunday’s semifinal rout of Cuba.
Turner hits ninth for Team USA, an indication of just how deep that lineup is.
The U.S. will need a strong offensive showing to beat Japan, who has allowed only 16 runs in six games in the World Baseball Classic.
Japan has reached at least the semifinals in all five World Baseball Classics, and won the two previous championship games it played — in 2006 in San Diego, and 2009 at Dodger Stadium.
Shota Imanaga starts for Japan in the final. Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani loom in relief.
- World Baseball Classic championship
- Teams: USA vs. Japan
- Location: loanDepot Park, Miami
- Time: 4 p.m. PT
- TV: FS1