The World Baseball Classic continues Thursday with a Pool A matchup between Cuba and Italy at Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium in Taiwan.
Cuba is coming off a tough 4-2 loss to the Netherlands in its first game on Tuesday, so it will be looking to bounce back and get back on track here in Taiwan. This will be Italy’s first game of the 2023 Classic. It has participated in every WBC, riding a Cinderella story to its best finish (seventh) back in 2013.
Here’s all you need to know about the matchup:
How you can watch: The game between Cuba and Italy will begin at 6 a.m. ET on Tubi. Games are available on FOX, FS1, FS2, Tubi or FOX Deportes, and every game can be streamed online in the FOX Sports App. For international viewing options, click here.
How you can listen: Live audio coverage of all games will be carried on Sirius XM, TuneIn, MLB.com and in the MLB App.
What’s at stake: The 20 teams have been placed in four pools of five teams for the first round of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, with each team playing the others in its pool once each and the teams with the two best records in each pool at the end of this round advancing to the knockout stage. Cuba (0-1) and Italy (yet to play) are part of Pool A with the Netherlands (1-0), Chinese Taipei (0-1) and Panama (1-0).
Matchup history: This is the first World Baseball Classic matchup between Italy and Cuba.
Matt Harvey, SP, Italy: It was a bit of a surprise that Harvey decided to join up with Team Italy, but manager Mike Piazza’s squad has to be happy having such an experienced pitcher on its staff. Harvey hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2021, and injuries have wreaked havoc on his arm over the years, but he looked good in an exhibition game here in Taichung. A lot of eyes will be on him for this big start.
Vinnie Pasquantino, 1B, Italy: Pasquantino, still just 25, is the star of this team. He had a breakout first season with the Royals in 2022 and looks as if he’ll be a star for a long time in K.C. He’s also psyched to be representing Italy in this tournament. I mean, what’s Team Italy without a guy whose nickname is the Italian Nightmare?
Roenis Elías, SP, Cuba: Elías has been a very solid pitcher during his Major League career, but recently, that’s only been as a reliever. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares starting off a game and how far he’s allowed to go in such an important matchup.
Luis Robert Jr., CF, Cuba: Robert is the best hitter in this lineup. Although he had a big double in Cuba’s first game, he also struck out three times. Hardly anybody on Cuba’s roster hit against the Netherlands (they had three total hits in the 4-2 loss). Maybe if he gets things going in the middle of the lineup, other batters around him will respond in turn.