Canada’s World Baseball Classic comes to an end following loss to Mexico, USA victory over Colombia
Photo credit:© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
8 months ago
Team Canada has been eliminated from the World Baseball Classic following a loss to Mexico and the United States’ win over Colombia on Wednesday.
Adding an interesting backdrop to the game between Canada and Mexico, 10 years ago during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the two sides engaged in an on-field melee that resulted in players getting thrown around, punches being thrown, and fans throwing things at Team Canada as the game was winding down.
Heading to the mound for Canada was Pittsburgh Pirates southpaw Rob Zastryzny, who boasts a 4.66 ERA through 24 games at the big league level, while Mexico sent Houston Astros right-hander José Urquidy, who has amassed a 3.73 ERA through 63 appearances over the past four seasons and won the World Series ring last season.
Canada was without one of its top players in Freddie Freeman, who was removed from the team’s previous game against Colombia with hamstring tightness. Should Canada advance, it will be interesting to see if Freeman will return to the lineup (or if the Dodgers will let him).
Zastryzny started the game off with a pitch way high and outside and was battling with Randy Arozarena, with the righty-batter reaching base via a controversial hit-by-pitch call that Canada challenged and lost. The left-hander would balk to put runners on second and third with former Blue Jays first baseman Rowdy Tellez dropping a soft single to right field to score both, giving Mexico a quick 2-0 lead. The Pirates pitcher would get out of the inning with a ground ball double play.
Canada would rally in the bottom half of the inning, with Urquidy loading the bases with one out on a questionable ball four call to Tyler O’Neill. Blue Jays prospect Otto Lopez would come to the plate with the bases loaded, driving in Edouard Julien with a line drive up the middle to cut the deficit to one run. Mexico would get out of the inning with just one run surrendered, leading 2-1, but would add another run via a double by Arozarena cashing in Austin Barnes, making it 3-1 in the top of the second.
Fast forward to the third inning and veteran Phillippe Aumont would enter the game, throwing a clean 1.2 innings before running into some trouble with two outs in the fourth, with runners on first and second. Fellow Canadian veteran Andrew Albers would come in to face Boston Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo, with the lefty-batter flying out to left field to end the inning and Canada getting out of the inning unscathed.
Cleveland Guardians backstop Bo Naylor would lead off for Canada in the bottom of the fourth and took a Urquidy curveball to left-center for a solo home run at 414 feet and 105.9 mph off the bat, putting Canada down just one run heading into the top of the fifth.
In the top of the sixth, Albers had Luis Urias and Alek Thomas on third and second respectively when he was replaced by right-hander Cade Smith, who immediately gave up a walk to load the bases and then surrendered a double to Arozarena, scoring all three runs and giving Mexico and 6-2 lead. Catcher Joey Meneses would collect a single to expand the lead to 7-2 before Smith was replaced by Trevor Brigden. The right-hander was working in his second game of the tournament and while he did allow a walk to Rowdy Tellez, he would escape the inning by striking out Isaac Paredes.
Canada’s bats would remain silent in the sixth but Mexico put another run on the board, with left-hander Ben Onyshko struggling with his command, hitting Urias while giving up a single to Alan Trejo with both players advancing due to a wild pitch. A stellar play at the plate would get Urias out at home but Mexico would score two more runs after reliever Indigo Diaz hit Arozarena and then gave up a sac fly to Alex Verdugo, making it 9-2.
Second baseman Edouard Julien would launch a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 9-3 but that would be all from Canada, as Rowdy Tellez would counter with a solo home run of his own in the top of the eighth inning and Mexico went on to win the game 10-3.
Overall, there were some interesting decisions by manager Ernie Whitt in the ‘do or die game’, as Canada’s top bullpen arm, Matt Brash, did not make an appearance in the game, wondering whether the Mariners had some sort of limitation on the right-hander considering he wasn’t used in such an important game.
With the win, Mexico took the top spot in Pool C and will be heading to Miami for the quarterfinals along with the United States, who finished with a matching 3-1 record. Mexico wins the tiebreaker between the two games because they won the head-to-head meeting earlier this week.
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