The Miami Marlins will face an entirely new opponent on Wednesday evening, when they host Team Israel in Jupiter.
Prior to the start of the Pool D portion of the World Baseball Classic, major league teams are taking on international teams in exhibition contests. This game will be Miami’s only exhibition against an international opponent, and it marks the first time it has ever matched up against Team Israel.
Israel is managed by former MLB All-Star Ian Kinsler and features, current All-Star Joc Pederson. The team has not announced a starting pitcher as of yet, but former Marlins Jake Fishman and Richard Bleier are on their staff. Both are relief pitchers, but it is currently unknown if Israel could utilize a bullpen game for this contest.
The Israel-Miami connections don’t stop with just those two arms. Israel has catcher Ryan Lavarnway on the roster as well. Lavarnway spent the shortened 2020 season with Miami, and has been around the game for a long time. Danny Valencia hasn’t played in MLB since 2018, but will suit up for Israel in the WBC. Valencia never played for the Marlins, but he was born and raised in Miami.
Israel’s coaching staff includes Brad Ausmus, Kevin Youkilis and Jerry Narron along with Kinsler. This staff gives Israel a really strong group of leaders, who have experience in big games. While many experts have given Israel little chance of competing in the WBC, the coaching staff, as well as the veterans on the roster could give them a fighting chance.
Miami will go with Braxton Garrett as the starter and will likely use most of the regular starting lineup to begin the game. Opening Day keeps getting closer, and the Marlins have struggled on offense so far. It is likely that manager Skip Schumaker will take every chance he can get, to run the everyday lineup out there.
Wednesday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 P.M.