USA advanced to the 2023 World Baseball Classic championship by beating Cuba on Sunday night. Monday night determines the Americans' next opponent.
Japan, undefeated in 2023 WBC play, faces Mexico in the other semifinal. Japan defeated Italy 9-3 in the WBC "final four."
Mexico reached the semifinals for the first time after a thrilling 5-4 win over Puerto Rico.
Monday, March 20 7:00 p.m. ET loanDepot Park (Miami) FS1
Japan -250; Mexico +200; O/U: 8.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook) LHP Patrick Sandoval vs. RHP Roki Sasaki (Japan) (Mexico)
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Japan starts 21-year-old Sasaki. He has a nasty splitter, various breaking balls, and a fastball that approaches triple digits.
Sasaki will eventually play in MLB, but he's focused on helping Japan reach the finals. He started pool play well against the Czech Republic.
The Angels' lefty Sandoval gets the call for Mexico, but the Rays' Randy Arozarena is the one to watch. The 2020 ALCS MVP's lifetime MLB postseason line was.333/.417/.705.
Arozarena's WBC slash line of.471/.625/.941 includes his game-saving catch versus Puerto Rico in the quarterfinals. Mexico will need another big moment from Arozarena to shock Japan's pitching.
As mentioned, the pitching matchup favors Japan, therefore expectations are met. Sasaki dominates, and Japan faces the U.S. Japan 4–Mexico 1