NEW YORK– The stakes only get higher from here on out. The World Baseball Classic has turned its course to the Quarterfinals Round as Mexico and Puerto Rico face off tonight Friday March 17th at loanDepot Park in Miami, Florida – first pitch is scheduled for 7:00pm ET on FS1 (FOX Sports 1).
With a trip to the WBC Semifinals on the line and two electrifying pitchers slated to go, expect an atmosphere similar to a FIFA World Cup game. Mexico’s ace Julio Urías, of the Los Angeles Dodgers will take the mound while Puerto Rico trots out Chicago Cubs right-hander Marcus Stroman.
Urías, 26, of Culiacán Rosales, Mexico, is one of the most dominant pitchers in MLB, and when it comes to left-handers, he ranks at the top of the list. Dating back to the start of 2021, he has combined for a 37-10 record and 2.57 ERA in 63 starts with a total of 361 strikeouts.
Urías struck out six batters and surrendered three runs last Saturday against Team Columbia in WBC Pool C play.
Stroman, 31, of Puerto Rican descent from his mother, has gone on record to say, “these WBC games give me life. The energy and passion is different – Playoff atmosphere in March”
Playoff atmosphere in March. Unreal. Shout to the incredible Puerto Rican fans for bringing all the energy and passion! 🇵🇷 pic.twitter.com/xKIBKsZgVB
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) March 11, 2023
In game one of Pool D play, Stroman tossed 4.2 innings of two hit ball against Team Nicaragua, and allowed one run with two strikeouts.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Mexico is a slight favorite over “Team Rubio” with a total of the score projected at O/U 7.5 runs. Provided below are how Mexico-Puerto Rico lines up across the numbers on offense.
Team Puerto Rico – Offense
Runs Scored: 30
Home Runs: 2
Team Mexico – Offense
Runs Scored: 27
Home Runs: 3
— MLB México (@MLB_Mexico) March 13, 2023
“We saw them a little bit when they played Team USA,” Team Puerto Rico’s second baseman Javier Báez said about Team Mexico leading up to the Quarterfinals. “Baseball is unpredictable, you know. No matter how many stars you have on the roster if they’re not together, if they cannot play as teammates, it’s going to be difficult to win this kind of tournament that is so short.”
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Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports
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