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USA vs Japan: Lineups for 2023 World Baseball Classic final | Starting pitchers

The 2023 World Baseball Classic has come down to two teams and quite frankly fans couldn’t have asked for a better matchup. It’s the USA vs Japan.

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Team USA comes into the final as defending champion, meaning you can bet they’ll be doing everything they can to make it two-in-a-row. Japan on the other hand, will be hoping to pick up their third title in WBC history. Needless to say, this clash is as big as it gets.

The 2023 WBC final is a matchup made in heaven

With the WBC final now set to be played between the Team USA and Team Japan, it goes without saying that fans are in for a treat. Indeed, even the players themselves can’t hide how big the clash is. “[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’s outfielder Lars Nootbaar said ahead game. “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.” Team USA’s outfielder Kyle Schwarber also weighed in as he gave some insight as to where the team’s mentality is at. “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.”

Who are the starting pitchers?


It’s important to note that there has been no official word as to who will be starting in the finals. Yet, following the semifinal win on Sunday, manager Mark DeRosa had this to say: “Obviously, it looks like it’s Merrill Kelly’s day. We’ll discuss that a little bit more.”


It’s true that word on the street was that Yu Darvish might get the start. There were also suggestions that Shohei Ohtani might be given the nod, but in the end the team will be going with Shōta Imanaga. A solid southpaw, Imanaga has relieved twice during the tournament and during that time gave up one run in the four innings he played, to go with five strikeouts.

What are the starting lineups?

USA confirmed lineup

Again, after the way in which the played the semifinal against Cuba, it would be surprising to see the Americans make any significant changes to the lineup. But, some changes have been made in the lineup:

  • Mookie Betts, RF
  • Mike Trout, CF
  • Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
  • Nolan Arenado, 3B
  • Kyle Schwarber, DH
  • Trea Turner, SS
  • J.T. Realmuto, C
  • Cedric Mullins, LF
  • Tim Anderson, 2B
  • Merrill Kelly, P

Japan unconfirmed lineup

As is the case with Team USA, we’re not expecting any significant changes. That’s to say that aside from Munetaka Murakami being shifted, we’re expecting the lineup to be the same as it was when they pulled off their comeback win against Mexico in the semifinal.

  • Lars Nootbaar, CF
  • Kensuke Kondoh, RF
  • Shohei Ohtani, DH
  • Masataka Yoshida, LF
  • Munetaka Murakami, 3B
  • Kazuma Okamoto, 1B
  • Tetsuto Yamada, 2B
  • Sosuke Genda, SS
  • Yuhei Nakamura, C

Players to watch


  • Trea Turner, SS

If you missed it, Trea Turner hit a quarterfinal-winning grand slam on Saturday which was understandably something to see. Then, the new Phillies shortstop followed that up with two home runs on Sunday against Cuba, to set a WBC record of two consecutive games with four RBIs. “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 said 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

Though it’s a case of ‘if’ where Japan’s third baseman is concerned, it’s worth noting that the case is very strong. Having been rather pedestrian across the tournament, Murakami looked like a season slugger in his final at-bat against Mexico. Indeed, it was his two-run blast deep into the outfield that gave Japan its walk-off win. If Murakami has found his mojo once again, he creates not only greater depth for the team, but a real point of concern for the Americans.

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USA vs Japan: Lineups for 2023 World Baseball Classic final | Starting pitchers

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