World Baseball Classic: Mexico’s four run sixth does in Canada for 10-3 win

Team Mexico’s Randy Arozarena takes in the thrill of running the bases against Team Canada at Chase Field in Phoenix on Wed Mar 15, 2023 ( photo)

Mexico. 10 10 0

Canada 3. 7. 0

Time: 3:31

Attendance: 17,245

Wed, March 15, 2023

By Lewis Rubman

PHOENIX–Fresh (if a team ever can be fresh for a noontime game after a night game) from an exhausting win over a gritty but inexperienced Great Britain, Mexico, now 2-1 and in a three way tie with the United States and Canada, took the field against the latter in a contest to decide which of the two will advance to the quarter finals of this year’s World Baseball Classic.

Both of the opponents in this afternoon’s confrontation have faced the US once. Canada lost a humiliating mercy rule shortened no contest to the team from the states on Monday the 13th, and Mexico toppled red, white, and blue, 11-5 on Sunday the 12th before a sellout crowd of 47,534. Today, Mexico soundly defeated Canada, 10-3 to gain one the two berths to the next round.

Although the squad from south of the border officially is the visiting team and is batting first, it has one home field advantage: the crowd, which has backed it vociferously in all three of its appearances.

Canada’s. manager, Ernie Whitt, chose Rob Zastryzny, a left handed veteran just a week or so short of his 31st birthday, who pitched for the Mets and Angels last year and has a lifetime MLB record of 2-0, 4.66, to start for our northern neighbors. He lasted only two games, in which he threw 50 pitches, 28 for strikes and surrendered two runs, both earned, on four hits two walks, a hit batter and a balk. He struck out two. Zastruzny’s replacement was a righty, Phillippe Aumont.

Right hander José Urquidy, who posted a mark of 13-8, 3.94 for the Astros last, was manager Genji Gil’s choice to start for the Mexicans. He’s no stranger to pressure packed situations. Urquidy is the only Mexican pitcher other than Fernando Valenzuela to have won a World Series games, and he has three to El Toro’s one.

He went as far as the rules allowed, throwing 62 of the 65 pitches allowed. 44 of them were considered strikes. Urquidy allowed two runs, both earned, on six hits, one of them out of the park and a walk in his four full innings of work. He was relieved by Adrián Martínez, whom the A’s recently sent down to Las Vegas .

The game, which began during a rare Phoenix rain shower, was played, like all of those in this series, under a closed roof, began with a controversy. A pitch by Zastryzny hit leadoff batter Randy Arozamena, and Canada immediately challenged the call.

They lost the challenge. Alex Verdugo flew out to left for the first out. Joey Meneses’s weak grounder to third went for a hit that moved Arozamena to second. Both runners advanced 90 feet on a balk and scored on a Rowdy Tellez one single to right. Isaac Paredes walked but was wiped out when Luis Urías hit into. an inning ending around the horn double play.

Canada came roaring back in its half of the initial frame.Edouard Julien smacked a two base hit to right. The Curse of the Leadoff Double was partially fulfilled. Julien advanced to but held on at third on Abraham Toro’s single to center. A full count walk to Tyler O’Neil loaded the bases, bringing up cleanup hitter Jared Young, who flew out to shallow right.

All the baserunners stayed put but advanced a notch on a solid single to center by Abraham ’Toro that left the bags clogged and drove in Julien, narrowing the gap to 2-1. Urquidy then fanned Bo Naylor and induced Owen Caissie to ground out to put out the fire.

Mexico got that run back with two down in the top of the second. Austin Barnes drew a walk, a Arozamena drove him home with a two bagger that bounced to the right field fence beneath the Coors Strike Zone and threatened in the third against reliever Phillippe Aumont.

Jacob Robson robbed Alex Thomas of a home run with a leaping catch of his lead drive to left, and, after Tellez walked and Paredes singled to right. Urías grounded into a 6-4-3 twin killing. Aumont left before completing the fourth, having issued passports to a pair of batters and striking out two others in that frame. Southpaw Andrew Albers saved his bacon by getting Verdugo to line out to left.

Canada pulled within a run of Mexico in the fourth on 414 foot lead off four bagger to left. It came off a curve that was thrown a 80.6 mph and left the bat of Canada’s catcher at 105.9 mph.

Urías opened the Mexico sixth with a walk. After Trejo went down swinging, Alex Thomas sent Urías to third with a single to center and took second on the throw. This brought Cade

Smith out of the bullpen and on to the mound. He loaded the bases with a 3-2 walk to Barnes, and Arozamena unloaded them with a three run double to left. Two those runs were charged to Albers; the other to Smith, who turned gave way to Trevor Brigden, who stopped the hemorrhage after walking Tellez by striking to Paredes swinging. By now, Mexico holding a commanding lead of 7-2.

Lefty Ben Onyshko was the next moundsman on Canada’s merry-go-round. He hit Urías with a pitch and gave up an infield single on a hard liner that shortstop López couldn’t handle. First baseman Jared Young threw Urías out at home on a fielder’s choice that moved Trejo to third and allowed Thomas, after reaching first, to steal second, which Brough Indigo Díaz into the game to relieve Onyshko. Díaz promptly plunked Barnes to reload the bases. They stayed loaded after Díaz walked Arozamena, only now Mexico was up, 8-2.

When Thomas crossed the plate on Verdugo’s sac fly to center it was 9-2. Menenses finally flew out to right to end the frame.

Martínez finished his day by fanning Denzel Clark to open the home seventh. Southpaw Samuel Zazueta replaced the promising righty from Mexicali and, after getting Jacob Robson on a called third strike, allowed a homer over the glove of a leaping Verdugo in right. A walk to Toro ended Zazueta’s stint, and he gave way to César Vargas, who disposed of O’Neil with an inning ending strike out that kept the score at 9-3, Mexico.

Mexico reached double figures in the eighth with a leadoff blast over the right center field fence by Tellez that made it 10-3.

Evan Rutckyln was the last pitcher Canada sent to the mound, throwing a scoreless ninth. (I hope I haven’t missed any participant in this sorry parade).

Jacobo Sánchez (AKA Jaque Mate Sánchez , or Checkmate Sánchez) set Canada down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

Urquidy got the well earned win; Zasrryzny, the well earned loss.

With this win, Mexico is guaranteed a spot in the Miami quarterfinal round. How the Mexicans will be seeded w it will be seeded will be determined after tonight’s USA-Colombia duel, scheduled for 7:00, is over and the tie-breaking rules are applied.

World Baseball Classic: Canada doesn’t even make it close clobbers Great Britain 18-8

Great Britain pitcher Vance Worley, right, exits during the third inning of the team’s World Baseball Classic game against the United States at Chase Field in Phoenix on Sun Mar 12, 2023 (AP News photo)

Can. 18 17 0. (7 innings)

Sun March 12, 2023


Time: 3:38

By Lewis Rubman

PHOENIX–Team Canada made its 2023 World Baseball Classic debut this afternoon by dominating Great Britain, 18-8, in a game (I won’t call it a contest) that ended after 6-1/2 innings of play. This was in accordance with the WBC’s mercy rule.

Once more, the British jumped to an early, unsuspected lead, but today they held it a bit longer than it took them to blow last night’s advantage.Once more, the reliever corps saw a lot of action. Here’s a list of the relief pitchers used by each team:

Canada: Philip Aumount, Evan Rutckuj, Curtis Taylor, John Axford, and Matt Brash; Great Britain: Camrin Opp, McKenzie Mills, Andre Scrubb, Donovan Benoit, Joseph King, and Alex Webb.

Neither team’s starting pitcher made it to the end of the first frame. Canada’s Cal Quantrill struggled mightily and unsuccessfully with his control and left after 2/3 of a frustrating inning, in which he surrendered three runs, all earned, on two hits, four walks and a strike out.

The battery of Quantrill and Bo Naylor also permitted four stolen bases before the former’s departure. Quantril threw 37 pitches, 20 of them balls, and left the game with an ERA of 40.50.

Great Britain’s starter, Akeel Morris also had an exceedingly brief tenure on the mound. His 32 pitches were evenly divided among balls and strikes. All five of the runs he allowed were earned, and they came on four hits, one of which was a leadoff home run by Edouard Julien that traveld 401 feet into the right field seats and came off Morris’ initial offering.

It would be painfully prolix to record all the scoring in this wild and wooly mismatch. There weren’t any highlights, although there were a few bright sports and noteworthy items. Here are are some of them:

  • Julien’s first pitch of the game blast. • Owen Cassie’s inside the park home run to center to lead off the home third, which put Canada up, 7-5. It was 10-7 by the end of the frame. • Since they say there’s always a local angle, Harry Ford, the Modesto Nuts’ catcher, went one for three, including a three run round tripper to left center in the fourth that enabled. Great Britain, to shrink Canada’s lead to 10-8. • Matt Brash’s three batters faced, three batters fanned top of the seventh.

Look for tighter play and a closer score in a little less than three hours, when the 1-0 USA goes against the 0-1 team from Mexico. The Dodger lefty Patrick Sandoval will be a the mound for the Mexicans, and Padres righty Nick Martínez will do the same for the USA. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 this evening.

World Baseball Classic: Packing for Phoenix

World Baseball Classic logo ( image)

Packing for Phoenix

March 9, 2023

By Lewis Rubman

For the first time since its inception in 2006, the World Baseball Classic will not stage its semi-final and final games in California. San Diego hosted the first championship round, followed by Los Angeles in 2009, San Francisco in 2013, and then it was back to Dodger Stadium in 2017.

This year the closest Bay Area fans will get to the action will be Phoenix, one of the four venues for the first round. Teams representing the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Canada, and Great Britain will duke it out in Chase Field. This quintet has been designated as Group C. The teams with the two best won-lost records in this round will advance to the quarter finals, AKA round 2, where they’ll face the two top finishers of Groups A,B, and D.

Now, let’s take a look at those groups.

Group A, consisting of the Netherlands, Cuba, Italy, Panama and what the organizers refer to as Chinese Taipei opened the action when the Netherlands beat Cuba 4-0 in Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on what was March 7 here, but the afternoon of March 8 in Taiwan.

In what was the nightcap in Asia, visiting Panama pummelled the host team, 12-5, but outhit them by only one run, 14-13. No other scores were in for either of the Asian venues when I took a break for packing my bags for Phoenix to write this. Group A’s next round, AKA the quarter finals, will be played in Taichung, with the sole surviving squad moving on to Miami for the championship round, i.e., the semi-final and final series.

Japan, Korea, Australia, China, and the Czech Republic make up Group B. Their first game is scheduled to start in the Tokyo Dome at 4:00 pm here on a west coast Wednesday afternoon, about two hours from now, and will feature Australia and Korea. The advancing teams will remain in Tokyo for the quarter-finals and then go to Miami for the semi-final and final rounds.

Group D consists of Puerto Rico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Israel, and Nicaragua. They’ll play their games in Miami, starting with the Puerto Rico-Nicaragua match up at 9:00, Pacific time, on March 11. The team that wins this Group D first round at loanDepot Park will continue to play there as long as they remain in the running.

All of the above invites a few questions. Among them are how does a team qualify, what is the basis on which a qualifying team is assigned to one group rather than another, how are teams ranked with their pools?

There are three criteria for qualification. They are

  • The host country automatically qualifies. As with sausages, it’s best not to inquire about what goes into making the decision of which country that will be. • Any team that reached the 2017 semi-finals makes it into the first round in 2023 and will be the top seed in its group. • This point is delicate. MLB, the WBC’s parent organization, describes it this way: “… the remaining teams will be assigned based on December 31, 2021, WBSC [World Baseball Softball Confederation] rankings in order to guaranteed [sic] competitive balance. Commercial, geographic and geopolitical considerations may also be applied to this process.”

Let that last sentence sink in. When you’ve done, you can clear your mind by glancing at’s ranking of the top ten teams. They are

1) The Dominican Republic 2) The USA 3) Japan 4) Puerto Rico 5) Mexico 6) Venezuela 7) Cuba 8) Canada 9) Italy 10) Korea.

I chose this source because I couldn’t find the final 2021 WSBC ratings and, in any case, 2022 was not a good year for lower level baseball and softball. I don’t know how accurate this table is, but I suspect that it’s relevant that, of the four previous WBC titles, Japan has won two and the Dominican Republic and the United States have won the two remaining crowns. Cuba, the Netherlands, and Korea also have had notable success in the tournament.

In my next article, I’ll discuss, among other things, some thorny “geographic and geopolitical considerations” that could affect the inclusion and group placement of a country as well as individual players’ eligibility to play for any given team. After that, I plan to send two more dispatches before I begin reporting on the games of the Phoenix round on March 11. They will deal with other tournament rules and with the representation of players from bay area teams in the WBA.

Vancouver offers fine dining at Bridges Restaurant

photo (3)August 9, 2013

VANCOUVER, BC — For a first time traveler to Canada, Vancouver was a great place to dip my feet in and get a feel for the place. Just a mere two hours (unless you get stopped at the border… *grumble*) from Seattle, Vancouver had so much to offer. Upon first glance, it seemed it had the same two seasons you see in Illinois; Winter and Construction. Once you get through the traffic and avoid all the tourists, Vancouver became a beautiful and extraordinary place.

From the “stadium city”, where the Whitecaps, BC Lions, and Canucks play, the Science Centre where I learned far too much about sexuality, and Convention Centre where a Pokemon Championship was being held, there wasn’t a day I spent in Vancouver I wasn’t in awe. The hospitality provided was just as I hoped for, and our hosts at Bridges Restaurant were no exception!

Located on Duranleau Street in Vancouver, Bridges Restaurant welcomed the four of us with open arms and warm hearts. When I think “Bridges”, the first thing that comes to mind is Mrs. Doubtfire and Robin Williams, but now I have a whole new memory to recall. Our waitress, Nicole, was exceptional. She laughed with and at us, cracked jokes, and even participated in our radio show, to which we are very grateful! The owner, Damien, stopped by and told us his story on air and even threw in a few jabs about the Canucks and Sharks!

The food was, simply put, amazing. The entrees we had around the table all came out perfectly. Fresh Oysters, Caeser Salad with grilled prawns, Caprese Pizza, and the fish and chips, all brought smiles to our faces and filled our stomachs. But wait, there’s more! We couldn’t leave without getting dessert! I had hoped to get a small slice of chocolate cake, but that just wasn’t in the cards… Do you remember in the movie Matilda where that kid had to eat the entire chocolate cake in front of everyone? I swear, the cake was that big, but WOW was it good. It came with raspberry sauce and a blob of ice cream, and sadly, extra spoons for the vultures around the table. If you are ever in Vancouver, look up Bridges. Head to Duranleau street and check out the scene… you won’t be disappointed.

One of the great opportunities Sports Radio Service provides me is the chance to meet new people and go new places. Bridges Restaurant, Nicole and Damien, and Vancouver, British Columbia will forever be one of the first things that come to my mind when I think of this trip. Not the fact the SJ Earthquakes lost, not the traffic or rain, but the friendship we created with people who extended the hospitality to us and joined in on something we care about deeply. That’s one of the special things sports can offer you; the chance to go somewhere you’ve never been and bond and relate with people you’ve never met.

So thank you Nicole, thank you Damien, and thank you Bridges Restaurant. Like our former Governor once said, We’ll be back.

Visit Bridges Restaurant