The Dominican Republic will try to make it a clean sweep of the World Baseball Classic when it faces Puerto Rico in the championship game at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Let’s run through some of the key statistical storylines of this matchup.
Samuel Deduno stats to watch
Deduno has a 1.13 ERA with 12 strikeouts and only two walks in eight innings pitched in the World Baseball Classic.
The key pitches for Deduno are his curve and slider, which he established well at the end of the 2012 season for the Minnesota Twins. In his last six appearances of the season, those pitches netted him 38 outs while yielding only three baserunners.
Deduno does have to be careful with those pitches. He yielded four home runs with them during the season and gave up at least four hits with his curve and slider in three different games.
No one can touch the Dominican relievers
The Dominican Republic bullpen has thrown 16 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings entering Tuesday’s game.
Tony Pena went with the combo of Kelvin Herrera, Pedro Strop and Fernando Rodney to close out the win against the Netherlands on Monday. Should Strop or Rodney be needed again Tuesday, Pena can take comfort in knowing that each was effective in pitching on the second of consecutive days last season.
Strop allowed only one earned run in 15 innings for the Orioles. Rodney yielded three in 26 1/3 innings for the Rays, though both of his losses did come in situations in which he had no days rest.
Surprise RBI man for Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico shortstop Mike Aviles leads the team in RBI with nine (including a home run against the Dominican Republic earlier in the tournament). No one else on the roster has more than three RBI.
Aviles has the most at-bats of any player in the WBC without a strikeout with 27. He’s struck out every 6.9 at-bats during his major-league career.
Key for Puerto Rico: Shut down Cano and Encarnacion
Two of baseball’s best sluggers, Robinson Cano and Edwin Encarnacion, have already hurt Puerto Rico in this competition, going a combined 7-for-15 against them in the two Dominican Republic wins.
One late-game matchup that could be significant would be Cano against Puerto Rico reliever J.C. Romero.
Cano is 2-for-10 against Romero, though he has put the ball in play in nine of the 10 at-bats. One of the things that hurt Romero in his quest to remain in the big leagues was his inability to get lefties out last season.
They went 10-for-27 with two home runs against him.