Seeking its first trip to the World Baseball Classic final, the United States takes on two-time champ Japan in a battle of powerhouses at the 2017 World Baseball Classic on Tuesday night.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know to watch the anticipated semifinal matchup:
USA vs. Japan, 2017 World Baseball Classic Semifinal
Date: Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Start Time: 9 p.m. ET (Full schedule here)
Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California
TV Channel, United States: MLB Network, ESPN Deportes (Spanish)
TV Channel, Japan: JSports, TBS, TV Asahi
TV Channel, Worldwide: You can click here for a list of international broadcasters
The United States, whose best finish at a World Baseball Classic tournament came in 2009 when it finished fourth, will send the Washington Nationals’ Tanner Roark to the mound:
Though the 30-year-old righty was fantastic for Washington last year–2.83 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 172 strikeouts in 210.0 innings–he was shelled in his only other WBC appearance, giving up three hits, two walks and three earned runs in 1.1 innings of relief against the Dominican Republic last Saturday.
“It should be a great game,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Any day with pitching, you just never know. Roark can be dominant. Those guys are going to run the bases, they’re going to give you tough at-bats, they’re going to play good defense. I’m sure they’re going to bring out one of their top arms. So I expect it to be close.”
Japan is likely to counter with ace Tomoyuki Sugano. The 27-year-old, who has compiled a 2.34 ERA in four seasons with the Yomiuri Giants, has made two appearances in this year’s WBC, getting rocked for 11 hits, two home runs and five earned runs in 8.1 innings. With a 10:0 K:BB ratio over that span, though, you see his ability to shut hitters down when he’s on.
Considering these teams entered the tournament as two of the top three favorites (the third, the Dominican Republic, has been eliminated), coupled with the heightened passion that has been displayed during this year’s tournament, and this one has instant-classic potential.