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2023 World Baseball Classic: Team USA’s Lance Lynn to start vs. Venezuela in win-or-go-home quarterfinal game

2023 World Baseball Classic: Team USA's Lance Lynn to start vs. Venezuela in win-or-go-home quarterfinal game

The 2023 World Baseball Classic has entered the single-elimination phase and Team USA will take on Venezuela in the quarterfinals Saturday. The winner advances to face Cuba in the semifinals, and the loser goes home. Here’s how you can watch USA vs. Venezuela.

Team USA will start Chicago White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn against Venezuela, the team announced Friday. Lynn was USA’s most effective starting pitcher in the first round, surrendering just a solo home run in five innings against Canada before hitting the WBC’s pitch limit (65 pitches during pool play).

“I know the offense broke out — I loved it, I loved everybody contributing — but for me, the story was what Lance was able to do. Period,” USA manager Mark DeRosa told following the club’s 12-1 mercy-rule win over Canada.

DeRosa and USA are not staying on rotation. St. Louis Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright started USA’s first WBC game last week with Lynn getting Game 2. Wainwright allowed just one run in four innings against Great Britain, though he labored throughout, and he was not having a great spring training with St. Louis before the WBC. His velocity has sat mostly mid-80s this spring. 

It’s unclear how Wainwright will be used for the remainder of the WBC. USA piggybacked starters in its first three WBC games, but with the pitch limit increasing to 80 in the second round, it allows for a more traditional “starter and relievers” approach. Also, the stakes are much higher now with the single-elimination format. There was more margin for error in the first round.

Lynn was USA’s best starter in the first round and he has the best starting pitcher on the roster period, so he will get the ball against a strong Venezuela team that went 4-0 in the first round. Venezuela trailed for only three innings in four games, and never by more than one run. The lineup features Ronald Acuña Jr., Jose Altuve, Salvador Perez and other All-Stars.

With the White Sox last season Lynn, 36 in May, threw 121 2/3 innings with a 3.99 ERA around a knee injury. USA’s other starting pitcher candidates include Wainwright, Kyle Freeland (Colorado Rockies), Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks), Nick Martinez (San Diego Padres) and Brady Singer (Kansas City Royals).

The winner of Saturday’s USA vs. Venezuela game will face Cuba in the semifinals Sunday. The winner of that game will advance to the WBC Championship…

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