On Saturday, Team USA will play its first game in the World Baseball Classic.
The team won the title back in 2017 under manager Jim Leyland.
This year, Mark DeRosa is their manager, and the cast of characters looks somewhat different.
But the goal remains the same.
Team USA will send St. Louis Cardinals legend Adam Wainwright to the mound for Game 1.
On Friday, Atlanta Braves legend John Smoltz, who briefly played with Wainwright in St. Louis during the 2009 season, previewed the game and talked about what his good friend will need to do in order to be successful.
The video of the interview can be seen in the tweet below.
"He's gonna be in game mode. There's no doubt about it."
John Smoltz talks Adam Wainwright's opening game start for @USABaseball and the mindset needed to be successful in the #WorldBaseballClassic.@MadDogUnleashed | @WBCBaseball pic.twitter.com/DaIPG2NAdV
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 10, 2023
Smoltz certainly knows Wainwright well.
Many forget that Wainwright was drafted by the Braves in 2000 and knew Smoltz from his time in the Braves system.
The right-hander was traded to St. Louis before the 2004 season and was reunited with Smoltz when the Cardinals acquired him in 2009.
But one thing Smoltz knows about Wainwright is his competitive spirit and his knack for pitching well in big games.
Wainwright of course closed out the World Series in 2006 and has started some big postseason games for the Cardinals, just as Smoltz had done for the Braves.
Smoltz predicted that Wainwright would be in “game mode.”
That is of course something that the veteran right-hander and two-time World Series champion can do very well.
Smoltz understands the competitive nature of baseball, but also understands Wainwright’s mindset and his ability to perform in high-leverage situations.NEXT: 2 MLB Stars Team Up For A Great Cause