The Dominican Republic and Venezuela are in desperate need of a victory heading into their 2017 World Baseball Classic matchup tonight at Petco Park in San Diego.First pitch is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET with live coverage on MLB Network and MLB.TV.Both nations are 0-1 in Pool F, placing added
The Dominican Republic and Venezuela are in desperate need of a victory heading into their 2017 World Baseball Classic matchup tonight at Petco Park in San Diego.
First pitch is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET with live coverage on MLB Network and MLB.TV.
Both nations are 0-1 in Pool F, placing added importance on tonight's game. The winner will be in control of its second-round fate, while the loser will move to the brink of elimination.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
The Dominican Republic was upset by Puerto Rico on Tuesday for its first loss in the Classic since 2009. Venezuela was unable to hold a late lead against Team USA on Wednesday. Team USA and Puerto Rico are each 1-0 and square off on Friday night. The top two teams advance to the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium (March 20-22).
Tonight, Marlins right-hander Edinson Volquez starts for the Dominican Republic. Padres righty Jhoulys Chacin gets the ball for Venezuela, taking the mound in his new Major League home.
The Dominican Republic is in unfamiliar territory after running the table in WBC '13 and winning its first three games of WBC '17. So how will the Dominicans respond?
"Simple, we are going to return and we are going to win," manager Tony Pena said. "I believe in each and every one of those young men. We lost a game. We did our same routine that we've done during the time that we've always played. We have a great team. And despite that, lots of people do fear the team from the Dominican Republic, and I've told my young men we didn't come here to lose, but we will continue to fight. This is the only way that we can demonstrate what we're capable of doing."
The Venezuelans have already overcome long odds in WBC '17. They had to beat Italy in a tiebreaker to reach the second round, and they needed a ninth-inning rally to do it.
"The team never dies," manager Omar Vizquel said. "We keep fighting until the end."
The World Baseball Classic runs through Wednesday. 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 in San Diego's Petco Park and the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.
Three things to know about this game
• Venezuela will be without Marlins third baseman Martin Prado, who was removed from Wednesday's game because of a pulled right hamstring. Prado headed back to Marlins camp to be evaluated.
• The Dominican Republic has never lost consecutive games in Classic history.
• Venezuela could tinker with its lineup after scoring just two runs against Team USA.
"I'm going to study the situation," Vizquel said. "I'm going to talk to the coaches and see what would be the best for the team, and let's see if that formula will create some results."
**Austin Laymance** is a reporter for MLB.com.