The World Baseball Classic is down to just four teams, and the first semifinal game pits Kingdom of the Netherlands against undefeated Puerto Rico on Monday night, in a game that will live stream from Dodger Stadium with a place in Wednesday’s WBC championship final on the line.
Manager Hensley Muellens is guiding his Dutch team to the WBC semifinals for the second tournament in a row after losing to eventual champions Dominican Republic in the 2013 edition of the Classic. However, his fast-maturing team faces a formidable challenge against the Puerto Ricans who have cruised through both of the first two round-robin rounds, winning all three games each time.
The Netherlands advanced to the single-elimination semifinals with 2-1 records in each of the first to rounds. They pin their hopes for their first championship final appearance on the right arm of 31-year-old Rick van den Hurk, who struggled through six Major League seasons from 2007 to 2012, appearing in just 50 games for the Marlins, Orioles, and Pirates.
To watch a live stream of the Netherlands vs. Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic semifinal game, see the streaming instructions at the bottom of this article. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, 9 p.m. Eastern, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, on Monday, March 20.
Pitching last season for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League, van den Hurk compiled a solid 3.84 ERA with 92 strikeouts, and just 15 walks in 82 innings pitched.
The Netherlands, however, have made it to the World Baseball Classic semifinal on the strength of their offense more than their pitching arms, with 32-year-old former Major Leaguer Wladimir Balentien — now playing his pro ball for the Tokyo Yakut Swallows of the Japanese Central league — who has belted three home runs in the team’s six games whole posting a stellar.591 batting average.
However, Puerto Rico also has a power-packed lineup featuring an array of Major League stars including Carlos Correa, Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina, Javier Baez, and Francisco Lindor.
The Puerto Rican team, however, will need to count on Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league prospect, 24-year-old Jorge Lopez, to keep the Netherlands bats under control. Lopez appeared in just two games as a September call-up last season for Milwaukee, getting rocked for six runs in 10 innings pitched. However, he also fanned 10 in that short big league stint.
The winner of Monday’s game faces the winner if Tuesday’s USA vs. Japan semifinal in the WBC title game.
To watch the Kingdom of the Netherlands vs. Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic first semifinal game live stream from 56,000-seat Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California, go to the MLB Network site at this link. The free World Baseball Classic live stream requires login credentials from a cable or satellite TV provider. However, there are two ways to watch the semifinal game even without cable login credentials — including a free, legal option.
To watch the World Baseball Classic semifinal showdown live stream for free, sign up for a seven-day free trial of the DirecTV Now online TV package, which can be found by clicking on this link. While providing credit card information will be required, canceling the package before the seven-day free trial expires will prevent any charges, allowing fans to watch the Netherlands Vs. Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic semifinal contest stream live without charges.
Fans who purchase a subscription to MLB.TV will also be able to watch Netherlands Vs. Puerto Rico, as well as the second World Baseball Classic semifinal and Wednesday’s championship game, stream live online. Go to this link to explore the MLB.TV option.
A Spanish-language live stream of the Netherlands Vs. Puerto Rico World Baseball Classic semifinal matchup is available via WatchESPN at this link, or by downloading the WatchESPN app for mobile devices.
[Featured Image by Matt Roberts/Getty Images]