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USA v Venezuela: World Baseball Classic quarter-finals – live!

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Key events

RBI Single (Paul Goldschmidt, USA 2-0 Venezuela)

USA 2-0 Venezuela, top 1st inning

Goldschmidt hits a single and that scores Trout from third base. This is quite a start!

Run on a single and an error! (Mike Trout, USA 1-0 Venezuela)

USA 1-0 Venezuela, top 1st inning

Almost immediately afterward, Mike Trout hits a single, Betts makes it to third… and then gets waved home after a throwing error by Ronald Acuña Jr. The USA almost immediately take a one-run lead!

USA 0-0 Venezuela, top 1st inning

Mookie Betts starts things off with a base hit!

First pitch

USA 0-0 Venezuela, top 1st inning

Martín Pérez throws the first pitch and it’s a strike to Mookie Betts! 0-1.

We have actual live coverage! Kenny Albert and John Smoltz are on the call. Also, I just realized that Kenny Albert is Marv Albert’s son at this very moment. Nepo babies are everywhere!

SPOILER ALERT: It was. (Okay, they went with “Dusty Baker gets World Series ring” which I feel counts.)

I bet the number one 2022 postseason moment will be the Houston Astros winning the World Series.

You can tell that there is absolutely no respect being given to the World Baseball Classic because there’s no pointless pregame chatter on FOX before the start of this game. Instead, we’re getting a compilation of 2022 MLB postseason highlights.

Predictions

Venezuela is the favored team in this matchup, particularly as the US had some struggles even to advance out of pool play. However, I just think the US is going to fight through the collective indifference of their countrymen and shatter Venezuela’s dreams.

My reason? Mike Trout. After being stuck on the Los Angeles Angels and thus exiled from the MLB postseason, he has been craving a chance to show off his generational talents in big games. I feel like he’s going to have a big moment today and that the US will pull off a victory.

Have a different opinion? Feel free to send it our way, by email to hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian.com or via tweet to @HunterFelt and we’ll post them here and see how they hold up. (I realize that this may, in fact, be a disincentive.)

Venezuela lineup

1. José Altuve, 2B

2. Anthony Santander, RF

3. Luis Arraez, 1B

4. Salvador Perez, C

5. Ronald Acuña Jr, CF

6. David Peralta, LF

7. Eugenio Suárez, 3B

8. Gleyber Torres, DH

9. Andrés Giménez, SS

Starting pitcher: Martín Pérez

Preamble

Welcome to the final game of the 2023 WBC quarter-finals. Tonight’s game features the United States v Venezuela for the right to face Cuba in tomorrow’s semi-finals. Team USA just barely made it out of Pool C, making them underdogs against an undefeated Venezuelan team that has scored 23 runs while allowing just nine.

Today’s expected starting pitchers are Martín Pérez, currently with the Texas Rangers, and the venerable Lance Lynn, who is now with the Chicago White Sox. Starting pitching, obviously will be key here, but one wonders whether there is an x-factor at play: which team has more on the line? While Team USA cared enough to bring out a stacked lineup, there’s no question that there is something of an enthusiasm gap between the countries these teams are playing.

When Edwin Díaz suffered a freak injury while celebrating Puerto Rico’s victory over the Dominican Republic, there was an inevitable backlash from MLB fans who were upset that such an important player was injured in what was dismissed as an “exhibition game” rather than in spring training (never mind that this consists of nothing but exhibition games). While these games are getting big ratings outside the U.S., here in the states it’s nearly impossible to find the scores in the avalanche of college basketball results.

Well, they are missing out. Mexico’s comeback win over Puerto Rico was an absolute thriller, a game that wasn’t decided until the final out. Now that pool play is over, the World Baseball Classic features some of the best baseball players on the literal planet playing win-or-go-home games in a postseason atmosphere. It only comes around once every four years and we should celebrate it.

Want to chime in? This blog is partly yours, as we would love to use your questions, commentary and such throughout today’s game. You can send them to hunter.felt.freelance@theguardian.com if you prefer to use email or perhaps tweet them at @HunterFelt if you happen to use the Dying Bird Site.

It’s USA v Venezuela at LoanDepot Park in Miami, Florida. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 pm EST, airing in prime time on FOX in America. We’ll be back before then here at the Guardian with starting lineups, predictions and other such important things (and also maybe a few non-important things).

Hunter will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s a look back at Mexico’s win over Puerto Rico on Friday night.

USA v Venezuela: World Baseball Classic quarter-finals – live!

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