Game Preview/Thread #-25: Brewers v. Canada

Canada's WBC uniforms, via their WBC page.

Can the non-Canadian Brewers beat an entire nation in exhibition baseball?

It's not often that our work here gives us the opportunity to give geography lectures, although perhaps if they turn out to be popular I'll do them more often.

Today the Brewers take another break from Cactus League play and will instead host our neighbors from the north as the Canadian WBC team visits Maryvale. As of this writing Canada hasn't announced a starting pitcher for today's contest, so you'll have to settle for the first paragraph from their nation's Wikipedia entry:

Canada (Listeni/ˈkænədə/) is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States is the world's longest land border.

The IBAF says Canada has the world's sixth best baseball team. You can see their full roster and WBC schedule here. Current Brewers John Axford, Jim Henderson and Taylor Green are all expected to play for them today.

The Brewers will counter the best and brightest of an entire nation by sending Chris Narveson (6.75 ERA this spring, 7.00/6.21 ERA/FIP in 2012) to the mound for his second outing of the spring. Narveson made his Cactus League debut against the Royals on Wednesday and allowed a run on two hits and a walk over 1.1 innings of work.

Assuming Narveson can prove he's healthy this spring he has a strong chance to make the starting rotation. He's the only lefty among six pitchers vying for five spots, and has held opposing lefties to a career .233/.320/.344 batting line. 42 of his 48 career home runs allowed have come against right handed hitters.

Narveson has, of course, never faced Team Canada before. He has faced noted Canadian slugger Joey Votto 15 times, though, and allowed him to hit .455/.600/.818 with a home run.

As of this writing today's Brewer lineup has not been released. If you've seen it, please drop it in the comments.

It's another perfect day for baseball in Arizona, with a game time temperature around 76 and mostly cloudy skies with light winds.

Audio of today's game is available exclusively over the web via MLB.com.

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