It's win or go home tonight as the US Team takes on Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. The winner of tonight's game will advance to the WBC's Championship Round in San Francisco's AT&T Park. The winner will first play the Dominican Republic on Saturday to determine whether they play Japan or the Netherlands in San Francisco.
When Team USA manager Joe Torre was asked on Monday if he would send the same starters out to the mound this week in the team's World Baseball Classic games after R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong, Derek Holland and Gio Gonzalez started the first four outings in the international tournament, the skipper said he would have to see since he had some options. "Well, we have a choice," the former New York Yankees' bench boss told reporters on Monday, "We have [Ross] Detwiler. Since he's a starter, we can do something there, too, but we haven't decided yet." So far this week, after Gio Gonzalez's first start, it's been back to Dickey last night and now Ryan Vogelsong in tonight's win-or-go-home matchup with Puerto Rico. Detwiler would have been on regular rest if he threw in last night's loss to the Dominican Republic, but he never warmed up. In his first appearance in the WBC on Saturday, the Nats' 26-year-old left-hander followed the Giants' Vogelsong and threw four scoreless innings against Italy which he allowed just one walk and one hit, while striking out three and throwing 51 pitches total, 36 of them strikes.
If Detwiler doesn't get in tonight's game, the U.S. will have to win for the Nats' '07 1st Round pick to get another chance to pitch in the World Baseball Classic. If the United States can beat the Puerto Rican WBC entry, they'll move on to the Championship Round in San Francisco's AT&T Park. On Wednesday, Detwiler's manager in the nation's capital said he hadn't been told by Torre or Team USA Pitching Coach Greg Maddux exactly how Detwiler would be used. MASNSports.com's Dan Kolko wrote this morning that when Johnson was asked again today he told reporters he still hadn't been informed how or if Detwiler would be used in tonight's game. Johnson did, however, say that he'd heard Detwiler's Nationals and U.S. teammate Gio Gonzalez was lined up to start the final game of the tournament if the Americans make it that far.
As MLB.com's Barry M. Bloom notes in his preview of tonight's game, the winner of tonight's U.S. vs Puerto Rico matchup, "... will play against the Dominican Republic on Saturday to determine who will face two-time defending Classic winner Japan on Sunday or the Kingdom of the Netherlands on Monday in San Francisco."
Will Detwiler pitch in relief tonight? Will the U.S. get to the Championship game so Gio Gonzalez can get another chance to represent his country after his dominant outing in the win over Puerto Rico earlier this week in Miami? Team USA and Puerto Rico are in Marlins Park again tonight where they'll decide who moves on to the WBC's Championship Round. 7:00 pm EST tonight from Florida. Who's Watching the WBC?
• Here's the U.S. team's starting lineup, which will not feature Mets' third baseman David Wright, who was a late scratch last night with what's since been diagnosed as "moderate intercostal strain.":
Tonight's line-up:Rollins-6 Phillips-4 Braun-7 Mauer-2 Stanton-9 Zobrist-5 Hosmer-3 Jones-8 Victorino-DH Vogelsong-1via @jbmlbpr— USABaseball (@USABaseball) March 15, 2013
• Here's Puerto Rico's Lineup:
Team Puerto Rico's lineup for tonight. instagr.am/p/W5IPLsMHOW/— USABaseball (@USABaseball) March 15, 2013
• Game time 7:05 pm EST from Miami. Who's Watching the WBC?