The U.S. will face Japan in a semifinal game of the World Baseball Classic Tuesday evening at Dodger Stadium.
Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark will pitch for the U.S. against Japanese right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano.
Roark allowed three runs, all earned, in 1 1/3 innings in a relief in a 7-5 first-round loss to the Dominican Republic March 11 in Miami in his only appearance in the tournament.
“I think he’s an outstanding pitcher,” U.S. manager Jim Leyland said. “He’s gotten the short end of the stick a little bit so far, to be honest with you, the way things worked out, but he deserves this start.
There is no doubt in my mind about it. I feel great about it. He’s been a trooper. He signed up for this event and I’m pitching him. I feel very, very comfortable about it.”
Sugano has no record in two starts, with a 5.40 ERA in 8 1/3 innings, allowing five runs, all earned, on 11 hits, including two home runs, striking out 10 and not walking a batter.
Pitchers are limited to 95 pitches, but are allowed to exceed the limit to finish a batter.
San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey will return to the U.S. lineup after not playing in Saturday’s 6-3 victory over the Dominican Republic in a second-round game in San Diego, Leyland said.
Leyland has been alternating Posey and Jonathan Lucroy of the Texas Rangers behind the plate throughout the tournament.
The U.S. is 4-2, Japan 6-0.
Houston Astros outfielder Norichika Aoki is Japan’s only player on the roster of a Major League Baseball team. The U.S. roster includes two of his Houston teammates, relief pitcher Luke Gregerson and infielder Alex Bregman.
The winner will face Puerto Rico in Wednesday’s final, also at Dodger Stadium. Puerto Rico defeated the Netherlands, 4-3, in 11 innings in a semifinal Monday night at Dodger Stadium.
If the U.S. advances, Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman will pitch in the final, Leyland said.
This is the second time in the four tournaments the U.S. has reached the semifinals. It lost to Japan, 9-4, in a semifinal in 2009.
Japan won the tournament in 2006 and 2009 and reached the semifinals in 2013.
Fans will be allowed to bring noisemakers and flags into Dodger Stadium, along with small hand-held string instruments such as claves/palitos, drums and guiros.
As usual, prohibited items include backpacks, beach balls, banners, cans, firecrackers, fireworks, glass or aluminum bottles, hard-sided coolers, pets, poles or staffs in excess of 24 inches in length, purses or bags with dimensions larger than 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches, signs, thermoses, inflatables, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones, laser pointers and weapons.
Former Dodger pitcher Hideo Nomo will throw the ceremonial first pitch. He will receive the ball from his manager with the Dodgers, Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda.
A Fan Festival featuring an international array of food offerings and performances will begin at 4 p.m. for the 6 p.m. game. Food trucks will include cuisine from Belly BombZ, Pho King Awesome, Mapuche Native Foods, Richeeze, Sabores de Mexico, Street Kitchen LA, Ta Bom! and Vchos Food Truck.
Entertainment acts include Break Fluid Crew, Cunya, El Conjunto Nueva Ola, Immortals Lion Dance Troupe, LA Taiko Ichiza, Mariachi Espectacular, Orgone, Street Dum Corps, Sweet Beats, UCLA ACA Lion Dancers, USC Kazan Taiko and Victoria Van Damn and live music from DJ Cleopold, DJ Fredy Fresco, DJ Malski, DJ Ry, DJ Slow Poke, and DJ Yuko.
—City News Service
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: