WBC/ST Game(s) Thread: 03/14 USA vs DR and Padres vs. Netherlands

USA TODAY Sports

San Diego has representatives on both teams in tonight's WBC matchup between USA and the Dominican Republic. Later, Eric Stults takes the mound as Padres host the Netherlands in an exhibition game.

Today the Dominican Republic and Team USA will face off to compete for a spot in the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic. The winner will clinch a spot in the next round to face either Japan (the defending champions) or Kingdom of the Netherlands (who will actually play an exhibition game against our Padres today, but I'll get to that in a bit). The loser will have to face Puerto Rico tomorrow to determine who will advance.

Edinson Volquez pitched for the Dominican Republic on Tuesday, so we won't see him in the game today, but maybe we'll see Luke Gregerson at some point for Team USA. Samuel Deduno will make the start for DR opposite R.A. Dickey for USA. This will be the first time these two teams meet in this tournament, but USA has a 3-1 advantage over DR in four previous international contests.

DR is undefeated in the tournament so far and will have to stay that way to advance to the semis. The US has won three straight since losing to Mexico in the opening game, with Dickey having taken the loss that night. Both teams have some power on offense and very strong bullpens, so this game should be a competitive one.

Later tonight our Padres will host the Netherlands, who has already secured a spot in the WBC semis, in an exhibition game at Peoria Sports Complex. Southpaw Eric Stults will get the start and is scheduled to toss five innings. So far this Spring, Stults has surrendered eight earned runs on 11 hits in seven innings of work. Despite that, however, he continues to be the projected fourth starter in the Padres rotation. Hopefully he has a better showing tonight against the Dutch as he gets his longest scheduled outing of the Spring. Robbie Erlin is scheduled for three innings and Brad Boxberger and Miles Mikolas are slated for an inning each.

Like all WBC games, you can catch the USA-DR showdown on MLB Network at 4:00pm. The Padres-NED game can be followed via free webcast on padres.com at 7:05pm.

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