All eyes are on Japan’s Tokyo Dome — the tournament’s strongest team, Japan — as it begins its pursuit of a third World Baseball Classic championship. Japan open against China, who went winless in the 2017 tournament but hope to surprise the world with one of the biggest upsets possible.
Here’s everything you need to know about the fit:
When and where: Now at the Tokyo Dome
Here’s how you can see: The game between China and Japan is live on FS1.
Games are available on FOX, FS1, FS2, Tubi or FOX Deportes, and every game can be streamed online on the FOX Sports App. For international viewing options, click here.
How you can ask: Live audio coverage of all games will be carried on Sirius XM, TuneIn, MLB.com and the MLB app.
What is at stake: The first round of the 2023 World Baseball Classic has drawn 20 teams into four pools of five teams, with each team playing the other teams once and the teams with the two best records in each pool at the end of the round. advanced to the knockout stage. Japan and China are part of Group B along with Korea, Australia and the Czech Republic.
Match history: Japan and China have met in every World Baseball Classic, with Japan taking each. Japan defeated China 37-5 in those games.
Shohei Ohtani: Not only will Ohtani suit up for his first World Baseball Classic, but he’ll also shred the rubber. He’s already shown his power by smashing two home runs in an exhibition game in Osaka on Monday, and now he can see his Cy Young-caliber pitching before the eyes of the world.
Munedaka Murakami: The power-hitting third baseman is coming off a record-setting season, hitting 56 home runs to break Sataharu Oh’s single-season mark for a Japanese-born player in Nippon professional baseball. China’s pitching staff is the weakest in the pool, so he can feast on power in this one.
Xiang Wang: China’s opener Wang won the silver medal at the 2019 national championships. In 2021, he won the National Championship title and in 2022, he won the bronze medal. Although he is a member of the Shanghai Eagles, the Chinese National Baseball League has been closed since 2019 due to COVID-19.
Ray Chang: China’s biggest star is back for his fourth World Baseball Classic. The 39-year-old now also handles coaching duties and has helped add players such as Angels minor leaguer Allen Carter. In 2017, he played in one run. He retired following that WBC, but when he got the chance to play again, he couldn’t resist the opportunity.