USA-Japan World Baseball Classic FAQ (LIVE on FS1)

March 21st, 2023

MIAMI – It’s the matchup every fan and player dreamed of at the start of the tournament: Samurai Japan vs. Team USA in the World Baseball Classic final.

“[I’m] proud to be wearing Japan across my chest, proud to be playing against the U.S., and I think it's good for baseball,” Japan outfielder Lars Nootbaar said ahead of the contest. “I think it's good that Japan versus the U.S. is going to be in the finals. And personally, I've got some friends and got some teammates over there too, so it's even more special and more exciting.”

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Echoed USA outfielder Kyle Schwarber, "You obviously come for the experience and you come to play with this team. This group, it's an exciting group. But you don't come here just for that -- you come to win."

Japan is looking for its third title while Team USA is hoping to go back-to-back after winning in 2017.

When is the game and how can I watch it?

Right now on FS1 and the FOX Sports App. For international viewing options, click here. Live audio coverage will be carried on Sirius XM, TuneIn, and in the MLB App.

Who are the starting pitchers?

USA: of the D-backs is getting the nod in the finals. The righty started the Pool C finale vs. Colombia, going three innings and allowing two runs on four hits.

Japan: There were rumors that Yu Darvish might get the start -- or perhaps even Shohei Ohtani -- but instead the team is turning to Shōta Imanaga. The southpaw has appeared in two games in relief this tournament, giving up one run in four innings and striking out five. He pitched 143 2/3 innings for Yokohama last season, posting a 2.26 ERA.

What are the starting lineups?


USA is facing a lefty starter for the third game in a row. The red-hot Trea Turner has been moved up in the lineup from the No. 9 spot to sixth in the order.

  1. Mookie Betts, RF
  2. Mike Trout, CF
  3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  4. Nolan Arenado, 3B
  5. Kyle Schwarber, DH
  6. Trea Turner, SS
  7. J.T. Realmuto, C
  8. Cedric Mullins, LF
  9. Tim Anderson, 2B


Japan is sticking with what worked on Monday, rolling out the same lineup for the final.

  1. Lars Nootbaar, CF
  2. Kensuke Kondoh, RF
  3. Shohei Ohtani, DH
  4. Masataka Yoshida, LF
  5. Munetaka Murakami, 3B
  6. Kazuma Okamoto, 1B
  7. Tetsuto Yamada, 2B
  8. Sosuke Genda, SS
  9. Yuhei Nakamura, C

Player to watch


Trea Turner, SS 

Turner followed up his quarterfinals-winning grand slam on Saturday with two home runs in the semifinals on Sunday. The new Phillies shortstop set a WBC record with two straight games of four RBIs. He enters the championship game slashing .368/.429/1.000 with a 1.429 OPS.

“Early in this, me, J.T. [Realmuto], and Schwarber were talking about Spring Training numbers, and I haven't hit a homer in Spring Training in like four or five years or something like that,” Turner recounted on Sunday. “So it's kind of funny how it works out, but I don't ask questions. I just go up there, and hopefully it continues on. We need one more win, so let's get that last one.”


Munetaka Murakami, 3B 

After being ice cold throughout the tournament, the third baseman looked like the player coming off a historic 56 home run season in his final at-bat. He just barely missed his first homer of the tournament, but his deep blast was good enough to drive in two runs in Japan’s walk-off victory. If this is the sign that his swing is back on track, Japan’s lineup just got a lot deeper.

Anything else fans might want to know?

Shohei Ohtani has said that he’s available to pitch in relief, but there’s no guarantee that he’ll be used -- or that we’ll get the Ohtani vs. Trout matchup we’ve all been dreaming of

“Mentally, I will be prepared to throw,” Ohtani said after Monday’s dramatic victory. “But I’m obviously DHing, so it’s going to be hard to find a time to get hot in the bullpen.”

Sosuke Genda also has a broken finger, but Kuriyama relies on his skills on defense and has asked him to play through the injury.  

Sunday’s pitching efforts helped keep USA’s bullpen fresh for the title game. Had DeRosa called on Kendall Graveman, Ryan Pressly or Devin Williams in the semifinals, they would not have been guaranteed to be available on Tuesday.