World Baseball Classic 2023: Qualified Teams, Updated Schedule for Semifinals | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors
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The World Baseball Classic has been everything it promised to be and more, as the tournament has given fans some of the best action and atmosphere that the sport has to offer.
And now, it’s time for the final four teams to fight it out in Miami at loanDepot Park.
There have been dominant performances by familiar stars as well as huge upsets, with title favorites like the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico being knocked out earlier than anyone expected.
The semifinals are sure to bring more of the same as Cuba, Japan, Mexico and the United States all look to be crowned as the world’s best in what has been the most watched and attended WBC since the tournament began in 2006.
Here’s the schedule for the rest of the tournament and a preview of each semifinal matchup.
Updated World Baseball Classic Schedule
Semifinal 1: Cuba vs. USA, March 19, 7 p.m. ET on FS1
Semifinal 2: Mexico vs. Japan, March 20, 7 p.m. ET on FS1
Final: March 21, 7 p.m. ET on FS1
Cuba vs. USA
Always one for the dramatics, Team USA left it late in its spectacular quarterfinal matchup against Venezuela to punch its ticket to the final four.
An eighth-inning grand slam by Trea Turner was arguably the biggest hit of the tournament, as it gave the reigning champions a 9-7 lead that they would never relinquish.
While Team USA has played well throughout the tournament, it hasn’t been as dominant as expected when the roster was first announced. The team didn’t top its pool after being stunned by Mexico.
But carrying over the electricity from Saturday’s win could spark the Americans to an appearance in the final in front of their home fans.
Meanwhile, Cuba is perhaps the least heralded of all the teams to make it to the semifinals, though not for a lack of talent. Current and former MLB players like Yoán Moncada, Luis Robert Jr. and Yoenis Cespedes are representing the country.
Cuba advanced as the top team in Pool A after winning a complicated five-way tiebreaker as everyone in the group went 2-2. The team then went on to squeeze past Australia 4-3 in the quarterfinals.
Although it doesn’t have as much talent on paper as the United States, Cuba certainly has the type of firepower that could give the Americans some trouble if they aren’t careful Sunday.
Mexico vs. Japan
While most fans expected Japan to make it to this stage of the tournament—if not go on to win the whole thing—Mexico has crashed the semifinals party after it topped the United States in Pool C play and beat Puerto Rico in an electrifying quarterfinal matchup.
Mexico has been sparked by Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, who might just be the player of the tournament so far, an impressive feat considering all the stars participating.
Arozarena, who is Cuban-born but became a Mexican citizen in 2022, has been on an absolute tear hitting .471/.625/.941 with a home run and nine RBIs, the latter of which is good for second-most in the tournament.
He has also played tremendous and clutch defense.
World Baseball Classic @WBCBaseball
Randy Arozarena is doing it ALL for Team Mexico!<br><br>This time with his glove! <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/WorldBaseballClassic?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#WorldBaseballClassic</a> <a href=”https://t.co/HvG72j36i8″>pic.twitter.com/HvG72j36i8</a>
Mexico will have its work cut out for it, however, as they take on a Japan team that has looked like the WBC’s best up to this point after completing dominating Pool B and then cruising to a 9-3 quarterfinal win over Italy.
Japan has what seems to be a perfect blend of offense and pitching, with players like Shohei Ohtani, Masataka Yoshida, Yu Darvish and Rōki Sasaki all playing huge roles in the team’s run so far.