All eyes in Japan will be on the Tokyo Dome as Team Japan – arguably the strongest team in this tournament – begins its quest for its third World Baseball Classic championship. Japan begin against China, who went winless in the 2017 tournament but will be hoping to surprise the world with one of the biggest upsets possible.
Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup:
When and where: Now at the Tokyo Dome
Here’s how you can see: The match 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 in the FOX Sports App. For international viewing options, click here.
How to listen: Live audio coverage of all games will be carried on Sirius XM, TuneIn, MLB.com and on the MLB app.
What is at stake: The 20 teams have been placed into four pools of five teams for the first round of the 2023 World Baseball Classic, with each team playing the others in its pool once, and the teams with the two best records in each pool at the end of this round advances to the knockout stage. Japan and China are part of Pool B with Korea, Australia and the Czech Republic.
Matchup history: Japan and China have met in every previous World Baseball Classic, with Japan taking each contest. Japan has outscored China 37-5 in those games.
Shohei Ohtani: Ohtani will not only suit up for his very first World Baseball Classic, but he will also handle the rubber. He’s already shown his power, smashing two home runs in an exhibition game in Osaka on Monday, and now he’ll get to show off his Cy Young-caliber pitching with the eyes of the world watching.
Munetaka Murakami: The power-hitting third baseman is coming off a record season, hitting 56 home runs to break Sadaharu Oh’s single-season mark for a Japanese-born player in Nippon Professional Baseball. With China’s pitching staff likely the weakest in the pool, he could feast with plenty of power in this one.
Xiang Wang: Team China’s starting pitcher to begin the tournament, Wang earned the silver medal at the 2019 National Championships. He was also named the champion of the 2021 National Championships and won the bronze medal in 2022. 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: Team China’s biggest star is back for his fourth World Baseball Classic. The 39-year-old now also takes on coaching duties and even helped recruit players such as Angels Minor Leaguer Alan Carter. He drove in the only race of the 2017 tournament. He retired after that WBC, but when he got the opportunity to play again, he couldn’t resist the opportunity.