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Team USA, Puerto Rico roll with familiar lineups

Stroman, Lugo to square off on mound in World Baseball Classic championship
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Puerto Rico and the United States are set to compete for the World Baseball Classic championship on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. The title matchup is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.TV.

Team USA manager Jim Leyland will use an identical lineup to the team's win over the Dominican Republic on Saturday. The only changes from Tuesday night's 2-1 win against Japan are at the bottom of the order, with Jonathan Lucroy starting at catcher in place of Buster Posey. Brandon Crawford moves up to No. 7 to take Posey's spot in the lineup, while Lucroy slots in at No. 9.

LOS ANGELES -- Puerto Rico and the United States are set to compete for the World Baseball Classic championship on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. The title matchup is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.TV.

Team USA manager Jim Leyland will use an identical lineup to the team's win over the Dominican Republic on Saturday. The only changes from Tuesday night's 2-1 win against Japan are at the bottom of the order, with Jonathan Lucroy starting at catcher in place of Buster Posey. Brandon Crawford moves up to No. 7 to take Posey's spot in the lineup, while Lucroy slots in at No. 9.

:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

"I don't think this is the time to change anything," Leyland said. "I've said all along, if we're good enough, we're good enough. If we're not, we're not."

Puerto Rico, the home team Wednesday by virtue of its unbeaten 7-0 record, has also maintained a generally static lineup throughout the tournament. The lone exception in Wednesday's batting order is the Dodgers' Enrique Hernandez, who will start in center field and bat ninth against the United States.

Toronto's Marcus Stroman will toe the rubber for Team USA in his third Classic start. He faced Puerto Rico on Friday at Petco Park and was tagged for four runs in the first inning, as they opened with six consecutive singles. Stroman settled in after that, limiting his opponent to just two hits and a walk over the remainder of his 4 2/3 innings.

Video: Sanchez talks about how Stroman's emotions can help

After Tuesday's victory over Japan, Leyland declined to commit to using Stroman up to the third round's 95-pitch limit, saying opposing hitters will dictate how far his starter goes.

"He's right on his scheduled day. I'll watch him close," Leyland said. "We're not going to do anything foolish, but is he capable and ready to throw 95 pitches? Yes, he is."

Leyland said White Sox right-hander Nate Jones, who threw 19 pitches over 1 1/3 relief innings Tuesday, is the only unavailable arm out of his bullpen. The U.S. used six relievers against Japan, and the other five who appeared in that contest -- Andrew Miller, Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon, Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson -- will be on limited pitch counts Wednesday night.

"I've talked to some managers and pitching coaches in the last 24 hours, and we had a good conversation about using guys back-to-back for the first time, but with a limit on pitches," Leyland said. "This is a process. You have a lot of conversations, but we're pretty much a full boat in the bullpen tonight."

Puerto Rican skipper Edwin Rodriguez also offered some insight into his pitching plan for the evening, noting starter Seth Lugo, a Mets rotation candidate, is available up to the pitch limit. Rodriguez is hopeful his club can get five innings from the right-hander.

Lugo, 27, is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA through two starts (11 innings) in the Classic. He earned the win against the United States in San Diego last week, allowing three runs and five hits -- including solo homers to Posey and Adam Jones -- in 5 2/3 innings.

Rodriguez said only Twins lefty Hector Santiago, who pitched 3 1/3 innings against the Netherlands on Monday, is unavailable out of the bullpen, with Minnesota righty Jose Berrios likely the first man up after Lugo.

Video: ITA@PUR: Berrios K's six over five solid innings

Below are the full lineups for Wednesday's championship game:

United States:
1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Jones, CF
3. Christian Yelich, LF
4. Nolan Arenado, 3B
5. Eric Hosmer, 1B
6. Andrew McCutchen, RF
7. Crawford, SS
8. Giancarlo Stanton DH
9. Lucroy, C
RHP Stroman

Puerto Rico
1. Angel Pagan, LF
2. Francisco Lindor, SS
3. Carlos Correa, 3B
4. Carlos Beltran, DH
5. Yadier Molina, C
6. Javier Baez, 2B
7. Eddie Rosario, RF
8. T.J. Rivera, 1B
9. Hernandez, CF
RHP Lugo

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 the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

United States, Puerto Rico