8 a.m. ET: If you’re not yet on board with the World Baseball Classic, well, it’s time to hop on.
Yes, there are some inherent problems with the tournament’s setup, and, as a certain live blogger recently noted, the rosters aren’t nearly as exciting as they could be. However, so far the Classic has produced some great moments, namely Team Brazil surprising its way into the tournament by ousting Panama, then nearly toppling defending champion Japan in its opening game.
So if international baseball excites you, strap in, because one of the deepest teams in the tournament is set to make a visit to JetBlue Park.
On Tuesday night Team Puerto Rico will take on the Red Sox in Fort Myers in a spring training game of its own before heading back home to San Juan to host Pool C — also featuring Venezuela, Spain and the Dominican Republic — in what will almost undoubtedly be the most lively round of the Classic. They’re passionate about their baseball in that part of the world, and that passion will be on display on Tuesday in Florida.
Puerto Rico has yet to announce their starting pitcher, but the Red Sox are set to send John Lackey (1-0, 12.00 ERA this spring) to the hill to take on a lineup which may feature the likes of Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina. Last time out Lackey threw 43 pitches before being pulled — necessitated by a 35-pitch second inning — which was probably a bit low considering it was his second outing, even coming off Tommy John surgery. In his third time out, look for Lackey to be somewhere in the ballpark of 55-60 pitches, though we’ll see if manager John Farrell says anything about his expectations for the big right-hander ahead of the game.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET, but we’ll have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, “all the stats and stories” leading up to the game. You can also follow this live blogger on Twitter for additional baseball analysis and biting sarcasm at @ZachStoloff.