2017 WBC Finals Preview

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The World Baseball Classic is coming to a close as the final two teams are ready to take their chance at the WBC title.

This year’s final has a bit of a good ring to it as the two teams left have never won a WBC title in the four years of the tournament.

That doesn’t mean there is a lack of experience in the big game coming into this game though as the Puerto Ricans have been here before.

Last year they were the runner-ups to the Dominican Republic in a game in which they couldn’t get their offence going for nine innings.

It was a tough loss for the Puerto Ricans who, like this year, are silently working their way through the entire tournament.

They have yet to lose a game this year and yet the focus was always on other teams in their pools and the battle between those teams.

Against the Kingdom of Netherlands, they were once again overlooked as many recognised they were good but were they good enough to overcome the offence and young infield of the Dutch.

The answer was a resounding yes in one of the most entertaining games of any of the four tournaments.

The first inning alone showed everything that could happen in a baseball game as there was a mental lapse leading to an out, a pick-off play at second, base hits, and home runs.

The Puerto Ricans took 11 innings to finish things off but they are a team that knows that they are good enough to beat anybody.

The confidence that this team plays with is hard to find and with that confidence comes the fun part of the game.

That is what the Puerto Ricans are doing as there is no team having more fun playing the game of baseball then they are right now.

Every play is a celebration and the blonde hair of every player is a sign that this team is together in their fight for a title.

They came close last tournament but it wasn’t to be, and this year they are back playing better than four years ago with Yadier Molina leading the way as the clear tournament MVP so far.

Molina provides that veteran leadership and in the first inning of their semi-final game was solely responsible for two outs in the first inning alone.

He leads a team full of young talent that includes Javier Baez, Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor who join a number of veterans like Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan in a deep group.

They have one more step to take though and that is in the finals where they will face a very determined Team USA.baseball-sidebar

The Americans are in their first WBC finals ever after years of coming up short due to a lack of commitment from their top players.

They didn’t get a full commitment this year but they did get a number of great players ready to compete and get the title that everyone has expected since the tournament began.

Some of the key commitments were that of two great young pitchers in Marcus Stroman and Chris Archer who have taken the reigns of the biggest starts.

They also received a massive offensive boost with Giancarlo Stanton and Nolan Arenado who have come up big at important times.

They have plenty of depth in the lineup though as both Arenado and Stanton were shut down against the Japanese in their semi-final.

That is where Andrew McCutcheon and Adam Jones came in and they are far from the only ones that can provide some back-up should anyone be shut down.

They head into a game against a familiar team as both of these teams already played each other in the second round.

The Puerto Ricans came out on top preventing a late-game comeback by the Americans to take the 6-5 win and to remain undefeated.

They will run things back when they send out the same pitchers and the same lineups out to compete for the WBC title.

Stroman gets the call for the Americans and Seth Lugo for the Puerto Ricans in a chance for the Americans to redeem themselves for the earlier loss.

There is another layer to this game as well with a bit of a rivalry between these two countries thanks to the fact that Puerto Rico is a territory of the USA.

That is sure to motivate the Puerto Ricans to prove that they are better than their big brothers in America while the Americans don’t want to drop another one to their little brothers.

The finals are here and it will provide a different champion for the second tournament in a row.

With Puerto Rico and the USA both believing they should have won it far earlier than 2017 this game could be a classic final in a tournament that has providing highlights in every round.

final-prediction

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