It’s the second straight WBC semi-final appearance for the Netherlands tonight in LA’s Dodger Stadium, where they take on Puerto Rico for the right to play in the finals on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
Netherlands’ skipper Hensley Meulens told reporters on Sunday that his team is ready for the challenge of taking on Puerto Rico and he said he thought some of his players having been here before would help them out.
“Well, you said the word, ‘experience’,” Meulens said.
“You know, I think these guys are four years older, more experience, a lot of success in their Major League careers the last few years. And there's a lot to be said about that.
“Also, we ran into a very hot Dominican team last time. We're going to run into hot Puerto Rican team this Classic. They were both undefeated when we played them.
“We know now these guys are ready for the challenge. We have our pitching together. You know, we're ready to go.”
Puerto Rico’s manager, Edwin Rodriguez, said Sunday he and his staff were hard at work getting up to speed on the Dutch hitters in advance of tonight’s game.
“We are studying their hitters and their pitchers, and we're going to establish our strategies against the pitcher, Rick van den Hurk.
“Then afterwards tomorrow we'll concentrate on the next game. But so far we're just concentrating on tomorrow's game.”
Jorge Lopez starts for Puerto Rico tonight. He had a chance to watch the Netherlands in an exhibition against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, but said he’s going to rely on his catcher to guide him through tonight’s outing.
“I think that I'm going to just follow what Yadier [Molina] asked us,” Lopez said, “which is execute each pitch, whatever he tells me. We're going to keep this communication.”
The winner of tonight’s game will take on the winner of the United States and Japan’s semi-final matchup, which takes place tomorrow night in LA.
GAME TIME: 9:00 PM EDT. FOLLOW: MLB Network; MLB.tv. No lineups as of 8:40 PM EDT.