The Netherlands and Cuba square off in Tokyo on Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET (noon Wednesday locally) on MLB.TV and MLB Network, with the winner taking a giant step in determining if it will make it out of Pool E and into the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.The Netherlands
The Netherlands and Cuba square off in Tokyo on Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET (noon Wednesday locally) on MLB.TV and MLB Network, with the winner taking a giant step in determining if it will make it out of Pool E and into the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.
The Netherlands (1-1) is coming off a 12-2 win over Israel on Monday. Cuba (0-2) is in a must-win situation after an 8-5 loss to Japan on Tuesday.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Diegomar Markwell, who has thrown 2 2/3 scoreless innings in two relief appearances, will make his first start for the Dutch. The 36-year-old is comfortable under this kind of pressure, having pitched in every Classic for his country. He earned two of the Netherlands' four wins in 2013.
Meanwhile, Lazaro Blanco will make his second start for Cuba. He threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings against Australia in the first round, allowing four hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
3 things to watch for
• Cuba's Alfredo Despaigne is the Classic's all-time leader in home runs with seven. He has three this year, and he hit three in 2013 and one in '09.
• Didi Gregorius is the starting shortstop for the Yankees, but he's been pushed to the designated-hitter role in four of five games for the Dutch because of Andrelton Simmons' superior defense. It's working. Gregorius has batted .421 with five extra-base hits and eight RBIs.
• Jurickson Profar hit .545 with one home run and three RBIs in Round 1 for the Netherlands. He's gone 3-for-8 in Round 2.
The World Baseball Classic runs through March 22. In the U.S., games air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament is being distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Tokyo Dome and Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com.