World Baseball Classic Semifinal: Netherlands vs Puerto Rico (March 20, 2017)

Projected Starters:  Netherlands (TBD) Puerto Rico: Jorge Lopez (1-1, 5.40 ERA MLB career)

Mexico WBC Puerto Rico Mexico Baseball
Puerto Rico’s starting pitcher Jorge Lopez delivers during the first inning of the game against Mexico of the World Baseball Classic in Guadalajara, Mexico, Saturday, March 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Luis Gutierrez)

The Netherlands and Puerto Rico will face each other tonight in the semifinal of the World Baseball Classic.  The winner will advance to face the winner of Tuesday’s semifinal between Japan and the United States.

The Netherlands 4-2 overall in the WBC so far, began the second round with a Japan 8-6, 11 inning loss to Japan before rebounding with back-to-back mercy rule victories over Israel 12-2 and Cuba 14-1, respectively.  The Netherlands also advanced to the semifinals in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and fell to the eventual champion Dominican Republic 4-1.

Puerto Rico, the 2013 WBC runner-up, is a perfect 6-0 in the tournament this year. Puerto Rico has outscored their opponents 51-15 in those six games.

24 year old right hander Jorge Lopez, is the scheduled starting pitcher for Puerto Rico.  Lopez has only pitched 10 innings at the major league level in his career.  Lopez is 1-0 in the WBC after picking up a win in his only appearance against Mexico when he allowed only one run over 4 1/3 innings while striking out five batters  March 11.

The Netherland has not yet announced a starting pitcher at this time but there a chance former big-leaguer Rick Van den Hurk could take the mound. Van den Hurk who not pitched in the major leagues since 2012, has 1-0 record and  6.43 E.R.A in two starts in the current WBC.

The 2017 World Baseball Classic has been a great run for The Netherland , but I am not going against the team from Puerto Rico -151 .  Puerto Rico has more star power and has been dominate against better competition so far.

My prediction:
Puerto Rico 9 Netherlands 5

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