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: Mexico edges Great Britain 2-1

Mexico just got by Great Britain in World Classic Baseball action at Chase Field in Phoenix on Tue Mar 14, 2023 (photo from sports)

Great Britain. 1. 4. 1

Mexico. 2. 7. 0

Time: 3:05

Attendance: 17,705

Tue March 14, 2023

By Lewis Rubman

PHOENIX–Following Canada’s 5-0 triumph over Colombia this afternoon, the won-lost numbers in the Chase Field edition of this year’s World Baseball Classic’s first round were:

USA 2-1 Canada. 2-1 Mexico 1-1 Colombia 1-2 Great Britain 1-2

Here’s what they look like now that Mexico has defeated Great Britain, 2-1, in an unexpectedly tight game.

USA. 2-1 Canada. 2-1 Mexico. 2-1 Colombia. 1-2 Great Britain 1-3

Tomorrow’s match ups are Mexico against Canada at noon and the US against Colombia at 7:00. Since only the the top two teams on the table will advance to Miami for the quarterfinals, this series is up for grabs, and it’s likely that the rules for tie breaking will play in important part in the seeding for the next round of the WBC.

Game recap: Team Mexico sent veteran righty Taijuan Walker to the mound to face the underdog British squad. Walker, who last year went 12-5, 3.49 for the New York Mets and had been a National League all-star in 2021, currently toils for the Philadelphia Phillies. Tuesday night, he pitched well, going just about as long as the pitch count limits allowed him to go. He hurled four full frames, using up 63 of his allotment of 65.

40 of those those were considered Strikes. He didn’t allow a Brit to cross the plate. The only Brit he allowed to reach base was Harry Ford, the catcher from the Modesto Nuts who had hit an inside the park home run on the 13th. Tonight, he legged out a double to left center and walked against Walker.

Walker’s very opposite number for the British, Joseph King, also throws from the starboard side. He turned 22 last month and provides a local angle for Bay Area fans. Unlike the 30 year old Walker, King has no professional experience. Still, he pitched well enough for UC Berkeley to be a ninth round pick for the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2022 draft.

’The proto-rookie’s only official performance as a pro came last Sunday, March 12th, when he faced three batters from Team Canada in the twinkling on an eye, 2/3 of an inning, walking one but notching a K and not allowing a hit. He’s expected to start his regular season pro career in the rookie level Florida Coast League.

Tonight, the youngster lasted only one frame longer than his debut. He had some problems with his control, granting a pair of free passes and unleashing a costly wild pitch. He allowed three hits and one run. That run came in the second frame on an infield single by Alexis Wilson that plated Issac Paredes, who had opened the inning with a double to right center and advanced to third on the wild pitch.

The young starter was charged with an earned run. He threw 34 pitches, 16 of which were counted as strikes. Ryan Long relieved him and closed out the episode when center fielder TrayceThompon grabbed Rowdy Arozarena’s hard hit ine drive.

Jonathán Aranda almost got a leadoff leg double two frames later, but a splendid throw by right fielder Chavez Young to shortstop Darnell Sweeney cut Aranda down at second.

Southpaw Erubiel Armenta replaced Walker to opernthe fifth, pitched to three batters, walked two of them, picked one off, and then left for righty Manuel Barreda, who faced one batter, whom he retired to end the inning. He was followed ro the mound by Manuel Barreda with two down in the top of the frame.

The soldiers of the king defeated The Curse of the lead off double in their half of the sixth. . Chavez Young laced a two bagger into the right field corner to start things against Barreda, who got Thompson to swing at miss on what looked like a pretty nasty slider for a strike out, followed by Nick Ward’s pop yup to third.

That brought up the dangerous Henry Ford, who worked a walk, during which Young swiped third and after which Barreda took a shower, and Jo JoRomero was brought in to face the switch hitting BJ Murry, Jr. He legged out a single to deep short, driving in Young and moving Ford to third.

Romero proceeded to fan D’Shawn Knowles, who had replaced Koperniak as DH in the fifth, but the damage was done. The band of brothers had tied the mighty Mexicans, 1-1.

Tahnaj Thomas took over the pitches chores for Great Britain once the mid seventh inning communal chorus had finished its two minutes performance. The Edenborough native walked Alán Trejo and retired Jarren Durán on a soft liner to third.

Then, disaster struck. Thomas let loose a wild pith that allowed Trejo to take second, whence Alexis Wilson’s solid single to left drove him home. Daniel Cooper came in from the bullpen to relieve Thomas, but Mexico was back on top, 2-1, when the frame ended with Arozamena fanning and Verdugo grounding out to first.

Jesús Cruz faced the top of the British lineup in the visitors’ eighth. Young grounded out to first. Then Thompson went down with his fourth consecutive strike out, all of them swinging. Cruz also fanned Ward to end the inning.

Joey Meneses greeted Andre Scrubb, who entered the game to hurl the eight for Great Britain, with a Texas League single to right center. He went to second on a passed ball when with one out and Paredes at bat, Ford allowed a passed ball. Meneses held his base, and the following batter, Aranda grounded out to second. It still was a one run game when Great Britain got its last chance to stay alive in the tournament.

Mexico’s brain truer entrusted the job of stopping them to Giovanny Gallejos. He struck out Ford swinging. He got BJ Murray, Jr., out on a grounder to second. Pinch http Alex Croby fouled off his first two deliveries. On Galllego’s third offering, Crosby lifted a fly ball to left, Arozamena caught it, and Mexico won 2-1, raising its record, also now 2-1.

The win went to Romero, and Thomas took the loss. Gallegos got the loss.

This series is turning out to be a lot of fun!

World Baseball Classic: Columbia edges Mexico 5-4 in Phoenix

Colombia just gets by Mexico in the World Baseball Classic on Sat Mar 11, 2023 at Chase Field in Phoenix ( image)

Colombia vs. Mexico

Colombia 5 7 1

Mexico 4. 9. 1

Sat Mar 11, 2023

By Lewis Rubman

PHOENIX–Oscar Mercado fouled off Julio Urías’s first pitch at 12:38 Mountain Time this warm and sunny Saturday afternoon under the closed roof of Chase field signaled the opening of the long awaited start of the 2023 World Baseball Classic in the western United States.

The Dodgers stellar southpaw would go five innings for Team Mexico against Colombia, the other Latin American entry in Group C ,before giving way to Luis Cessa.. Urías hurled 62 pitches, 19 of which were balls, allowing three runs, all of them earned, on there hits, one of them a homer, and striking out six,in what proved to be a stunning extra inning win for Colombia, who defeated the favored Mexicans in 10 innings, 5-4.

Colombia used seven pitchers, with righty Guillermo Zúñiga, who hurled the last two frames getting the win. Mexico sent five men to the mound, and the loss went to Jesús Cruz, who lost because of circumstances beyond his control in the tenth, the only frame he pitched.

Urias didn’t allowing a base runner over his first four frames. And thens roof fell in. Back to back doubles by Jorge Alfaro and Elias Diaz brought in the former and a 342 round tripper over the left field fence off the bat of Elias Diaz gave the Colombians their second and third scores. The bottom third of lineup then went down in order.

Colombia’s skipper Edgar Remteria and pitching coach Walter Miranda entrusted his teams fortunes to Nabil Crismatt, a righty who’s pitched for the Cardinals and Padres, going 5-2, 294 for San Diego last year. He pitched well out of the gate.

Although he couldn’t match Urias’s perfect performance over the four opening frames, Colombia’s starter shut out he Mexican squad over 3-1/3 innings, allowing only one hit, a double to right center by Randy Arozamena in the first that showed that, in spite of the success the the visitors would owe to a that play,

The Curse of the Led Off Double applies to the WBC. But then, Mexico broke through in the home fourth on a single lead off single to center by Joey Menenses, who advanced to second on Rudy Téllez’s bouncer to the mound and scored on Isaac Parades’s double to center.

Crismatt gave way to Jhon Romero as soon as Mexico came up in the bottom of the fifth. Crisatt had thrown 57 piches, 34 strikes, over his four inning stint, during which he allowed one run, which was earned, on three hits and struck out an equal number of Mexico’s batters, while walking one.

Romero lasted a mere 2/3 of an inning, blowing his inherited 3-1 lead on a 389 two run blast into the left field seats by first baseman Reynaldo Ramirez. The reliever threw 18 pitches, 10 for strikes, yielding one walk on two hits. Both of the runs he allowed were earned. Adrían Almeida replaced him to get the third out and returned to the mound for the sixth. He escaped damage in that frame thanks to an inning ending 6-4-3 twin killing.

Both teams pushed a man across the plate in the seventh. Colombia did it on a single by Reynaldo Rodgríguez plated Jorge Alfaro, who had doubled. They would have scored more if it hadn’t been for a beautiful around the horn double play started by Isaac Paredes’ grab of a hard grounder down the line by Jordán Díaz of the Oakland Athletics.

Mexico re-tied that score on Alex Verdugo’s single to center that drove in Aleck Thomas, who also had reached on a single to center and gone to second on another safety by Austin Barnes. The run was charged to Reiver San Martin, although it was Pedro García suffered Verdugo’s punishing blow.

Colombia scratched out a run in the top of the tenth off Jesús Cruz. Zombie runner Alfaro advanced to third on Díaz’s fly to right .Mexico conceded a walk to Rodríguez.

Jarren Durán pinch ran for emplaced runner Verdugo. Meneses struck out swinging. Téllez flew out to left, and Paredes was called out on strikes, the last one of which was questionable.

Great Britain will play the United States at 7:00. If the visitors pull off a win, THAT would be an upset!

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.

Caribbean Series: Venezuelans get shutout eliminate Mexico 1-0

February 6

By Lewis Rubman

Mexico (4-2) 0 9 0

Venezuela (5-1) 1 2 0

HATO REY, PUERTO RICO–Three Mexican pitchers held Venezuela to hits this afternoon, but that was all the Venezuelans needed to eliminate their rival and advance to the final confrontation of the second second Caribbean Series, which will take place tomorrow evening, starting at 8:00 Atlantic time.

Venezuela’s Lara Cardenales looked set to establish a significant lead in the bottom of the third. Gorkys Hernández, who came to the plate with a raquitic batting average of .200 for the Series, opened the frame with a walk off of Zack Dodson, who was starting for the Tomateros de Culiacán, champions of the Mexican Pacific League. Dodson got the next batter, Juan Apodaca, to ground out to third, moving Hernández up a base in the process.

Wellington Dotel’s rule book double brought in Hernández in with what proved to be the game’s only tally. It didn’t look like that would be the case when the next batter for the Cardinals launched a hard line drive towards left center field. Hernández, playing center, dashed to his right, speared the ball, and fired it in to shortstop Alí Castillo at second to double up Dotel, who was unable to return in time. ´ Mexico had several chances to undo the damage.

They left runners on second and third in the fourth. Alí Solis was thrown out at home with one out in the fifth, trying to score on Rico’s grounder to short. José Guadalupe Chávez led off the ninth with single to left off Pedro Rodríguez. Solís tried to get him into scoring position with a sacrifice.

Rodríguez foiled him with a high, hard heater that caught Mexico´s catch leaning back and unable to drop down a decent bunt. Instead,the ball bounced sharply to first baseman Osmán Marval, who fired it to shortstop Castillo at second. In a marvel of clockwork infielding, Castillo relayed Marval’s throw to second baseman Alex Amarista, covering first. The resultant double play left Juan Carlos Gamboa as Mexico’s last, best hope.

He grounded out to short.

Losing pitcher Dotson went six innings, giving up Venezuela’s single tally and both of its hits. He deserved better. Derrick Loop and Sasagi Sánchez closed Venezuela down for the rest of the game.

The win went to starter Logan Darnell, who gave up six hits over his seven innings of works. He was relieved by José Ascanio (no hits in one inning), Francisely Buenos (no hits in a third of an inning), Richardo Gómez (none in two-thirds of an inning), and Rodríguez (one hit/one inning), who got the save.

Venezuela will play the winner of tonight’s game between Puerto Rico’s Santurce Crabbers and the Dominican’s Eastern Tigers tomorrow night for the championship.

2020 Caribbean Series: Mexico gets some solid pitching blanks Colombia 4-0

February 5, 2020
By Lewis Rubman
Colombia (0-5)            0      1    0
Mexico (4-1)                  4    10  0
HATO REY PUERTO RICO–In a series notable for its well pitched games, the masterpiece that Mexico’s Edgar Torres  achieved this afternoon stands head and shoulders above the rest. The six foot, 218 pound lefty from Puebla, who toiled ineffectively for the Durango Generals of the Mexican League last summer and had an unimpressive record of 4-6, 3.96 for the Mazatlán Deers of the Mexican Pacific League this past fall, hurled seven and two-thirds of nearly impeccable baseball against the Montería Buckaroos of the Edgar Rentería Colombian Baseball League, Colombia’s representative.That the Colombian contingent isn’t a powerhouse helps put Torres’s achievement in perspective, but it remains an achievement.
In his labor of nearly eight innings, Torres threw 97 pitches, 69 of which were strikes, to 24 batters. The only hit he allowed was a first inning single to Brallán Pérez, and Torres picked him off first almost immediately after that. The only other base runner he allowed was José Brizuela, on a fifth inning walk. Torres’s ground out to fly out ration was 10:3.
Mario Meza mopped up with a perfect inning and a third of relief.
The Mexicans didn’t score until the fifth, when Juan Gamboa singled and advanced to third on José Guadalupe Chávez’s single to right, scoring moments later on a wild pitch by Colombia’s starting pitcher, Edinson Frías. Rico Noel´s single brought Chávez home.
That was all that Mexico needed, but Roberto Peña’s two run homer in the seventh gave them some more breathing room.
Mexico is assured of a play off berth, but we’ll have to wait for the results of tonight’s game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican to see what mathematical calculations, if any, are necessary who plays whom and which team gets last licks.

Caribbean Series Baseball: Mexico gets key hits in win over Puerto Rico 4-1 photo

By Lewis Rubman

Puerto Rico (1-1) 2 8 2

Mexico (1-1) 4 11 0

HATO REY, PUERTO RICO–This afternoon’s match up between the Santurce Cangrejeros (Crabbers), Puerto Rico’s team, playing today as the visitors, and Mexico’s representative, the Culiacán Tomateros (Tomato Growers) began as if it might be a replay of the mornings pitchers’ duel between Colombia and Panama.

The score was tied at one all for the first four and a half innings, the Crabbers’ tally coming on a solo home run into the right field bleachers off the bat of Jan Hernández in the top of the second, the first round tripper of the Series. The Tomateros caught up in the bottom of the third by stringing together a couple of singles, a sacrifice bunt, and an infield out that brought their first run home.

Two innings later, the complexion of the contest changed. Culiacán’s right fielder, Sebastián Elizalde, who had watched Hernández’s blast sail over his head in the second, now sent his own into the cheap (or at least cheaper seats) in right. But with one difference; there were two men on board when Elizalde launched his liner. The game was no slugfest or a blowout, but the prospect of pitchers mastering batters had disappeared.

Santurce came charging back in their half of the sixth. An error by Puerto Rico’s third sacker, Emmanuel Rivera, had allowed one of the runners who scored on Elizondo’s clout two reach base. Rivera atoned for that sin by driving in Iván de Jesús, Jr., from first on a double to left.

That was all the scoring. Puerto Rico had some chances but blew them. In the seventh, they had men on second and third with no outs. It wasn’t good pitching that saved Mexico’s bacon then; it was bad base running. Reliever Derrick Loop picked pinch runner Alexis Pantoja off second to break the back of the rally.

Both teams now are tied at 1-1 with Panama for third place. Venezuela, who plays the Dominican tonight, is undefeated and leads the pack by a half a game. The Dominicans trail the three tied teams by a half a game and leads the 0-2 Panama squad by the same margin.

Manuel Barrreda, Mexico’s starting pitcher, picked up the win. He gave up five hits and one run, earned, in his five innings of work, throwing 78 pitches, 49 of which were strikes, according to baseball’s weird accounting system that considers any pitch a bat makes contact with a strike. Adalberto Baldonado, who faced three batters in the ninth, K’ing two of them, notched the save. PUerto Rico’s Giovanni Soto was charged with the loss. He gave up four runs (three earned) on eight hits in four and a third innings.

Tomorrow’s schedule calls for Panama to play Mexico in the morning, the Dominican Republic to face Colombia in the afternoon, and Puerto Rico to duke it out with Venezuela under the lights.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Bruce Maxwell with the Acereros de Mexico

Photo credit:

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Ex-Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell is playing baseball with the Acereros de Monclova (Steelers) in Mexico. Maxwell hopes that he will be noticed by a major league scout and a return to the major leagues.

In 2017, Maxwell took a knee during the National Anthem in Oakland. To this day, he is the only major league player to do so, but things got more complicated for the catcher when he was later was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Eventually, the A’s let him go after the 2018 season, a season where they won 97 games and made it to the one-game wild card playoff against the New York Yankees.

During his three years in Oakland (2016-18), Maxwell played in 127 games, recorded a combined .240 batting average, five home runs and 42 runs batted in. The A’s obviously expected more productivity. The German-born catcher is looking for another opportunity and a fresh start. I think wverybody deserves a second chance since it is not like today’s major leagues are super-rich with great catchers. The Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T Realmuto is in his prime, while the St. Louis Cardinals’ Yaider Molina and the San Francisco Giants’ Buster Posey are nearing the end of their respective careers.

Maxwell is 28 years old. He is working in Mexico to impress a major league team. I hope he succeed and can return to play for one of the 30 teams in the majors.

As of today, Maxwell’s club Monclova is 14-7 for third place in the Norte (North) Division and two games behind Tijuana.

MLB Mexicali Baseball: Long weekends and extended seasons along the border (Part 2)

Photo credit: @AguilasDeMxli

By: Lewis Rubman
SRS Contributor
November 10, 2018

Charros de Jalisco: 0 | 4 | 1
Aguilas de Mexicali: 8 | 14 | 1

MEXICALI, Baja California — Yesterday, I made a mistake. I said that Mike Sánchez had been credited with an unmerited save because when he entered last night’s game, the on=deck hitter didn’t represent the potential tying run. I had forgotten, that it was Rodolfo Aguilar who entered the game in that situation. After giving up a run-scoring single to the only batter he faced, Aguilar left the bases loaded for Sánchez, who did, indeed, began his stint with the potential tying run in the on deck circle.

I also promised to explain the Mexican Pacific League’s method of determining the final standings of its teams. Here goes. From October through December, the teams play a 68 game season, divided equally into two rounds. In each half season, the team with the best won-lost percentage receives eight points; the second, seven; the third, six; the fourth, five; the fifth, four and a half points; the sixth, four points; the seventh, three and a half; and the eighth, three. Then the totals for each half season are added up to determine the teams’ overall positions. The tie breakers for establishing the standings for all the fragments of the season until the participants in the semi-finals have been determined, are in decreasing order of importance, face-to-face won-lost records and the “run-average.” This last figure is computed by multiplying the teams’ total runs scored, multiplying it by 100, and dividing the result by the runs scored against them.

Starting just after New Year’s Day, there are three play-off rounds, each of them best of seven games. In the opening round, the first place team faces the sixth place finisher; the second, the fifth; and the third place team plays the fourth. The teams with the three best records, along with the wild card (called “the best loser”) advance to the semi-finals. The best loser is the one with the most play-off wins. The two tie-breakers are play-off run-average, followed by the place in the over-all regular season standings. For the semi-finals and final series, teams can add to players to their rosters (although one of them can play) from the two eliminated teams. The first seed plays the wild card team and the second and third place teams face each other in a best of seven series to determine the finalists, who then duke it out in another best of seven series. The survivor goes on to the Caribbean Series, which I’ll discuss in tomorrow’s article, the last of this three-part report.

I also promised to continue my brief history of the Aguilas after they left “organized” baseball in 1958. After years of unsuccessful attempts to enter what everyone calls the winter leagues, although almost all of their games are played in the fall, Mexicali was admitted to the Mexican Pacific League in 1976. It took the Eagles a decade to win their first league championship, but that 1985-86 team, with the A’s current minor league defensive coordinator, Juan Navarrete, playing second base and John Kruk in the outfield, went on to win the Caribbean Series. Three of the champions’ four wins came in the last inning. The Aguilas also topped the league in 1988-89, 1999-2000, and 2016-17, but that initial Caribbean victory was the only time they’ve taken home all the marbles. As I mentioned, the 1989 Series took place in Mexicali.

Over the years, many other players known to American fans have taken the field for the Aguilas. Among them are Mike Piazza, Fernando Valenzuela, Jonny Gomes, Rudy Seánez, Jeff Samardzija, Sergio Romo, Dan Serafini, Matt Joyce, David Cortés, Rubén Amaro, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jason Bourgoeois, Adam Rosales, and Ron Washington. Also, great Mexican players, not well known in the states, like Cananea Reyes, Matías Carrillo, and Houston Jiménez also have played for the Mexicali faithful. Some American players have carved out major careers playing in the Mexican League in the summer and the with the Eagles during the fall. Derrick Bell and Oakland born Chris Roberson are among these, as is the belovèd Bubba Smith (pronounced BOObah Esmith in Spanish), who was extremely popular with young fans in the US minor leagues, Korea, Japan, and Mexico. A rotund first baseman, Bubba gave his name to a hot dog stand at the Eagles’ Nest.

Eventually the word Bubba replaced salchica as the local word for that delicacy. Today you can walk into the local supermarket and find the clearly marked Bubbas section.

Tomorrow, I’ll provide a brief overview of the food available and The Nest, now it’s time to report on this evening’s game.

Mexicali even its record at 12-12 and dropped Jalisco below .500 at 11-13 by lambasted the Charros 8-0 at the Eagles’ Nest tonight. Taking a leaf from last night’s book, the Eagles soared to a commanding lead early in the game, this time going ahead 6-0 after two innings. Again, their starting pitcher held this lead as long as he was on the mound. Tonight, it was David Reyes, who held his opponent scoreless of six frames, yielding only three hits and one walk while striking out eight Charros. C.C. Delgado earned the save by pitching three shutout innings, allowing only one hit, an eighth inning double to Kevin Medrano, and striking out four of the 10 batters he faced. Jalisco’s unfortunate starter, Vince Malesky, was touched up for five runs, two of them earned, in one plus innings pitched.

The three unearned runs scored as the result of his own throwing error in the top of the second. A trio of Jalisco relievers held the Eagles to one run each over the remaining seven innings, but the damage was done.

For the second straight night, neither team hit a home run. The Eagles scored on a combination of timely hitting and hustle. Malesky’s fatal error occurred on a sacrifice bunt by Javier Salazar that allowed him to reach second and Ricky Alvarez to score while Ramón Ríos made it to third. David Harris stole a base, and Jason Boureois purloined two.

Tomorrow, we’ll see Mexicali go for the sweep, while Jalisco tries to salvage its honor in the series finale.

Stanford Makes It Four Straight with win Over Purdue

stanford womens bb

By: Joe Lami

Stanford started their week in Mexico with a win against Purdue on Tuesday.  The Cardinal took on the Boil Makers as part of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope. This is the first time that Stanford has played a regular season matchup outside of the United States, they have played tournaments in Alaska, Hawaii and even the Virgin Islands, but never outside the United States.  Purdue was coming into the contest with a perfect record of 4-0 and the rank of the 16th best team in the country.

Stanford beat Purdue by the final score of 86-69.  With the win, Stanford is now 1-1 against ranked opponents, with the only loss of the season coming to number one ranked Connecticut.  The Cardinal had the five-point lead going into the half, and were able to extend the lead to 17 by the end of the game.

Chiney Ogwumike lead the team once again with 22 points.  For the second straight game she was unable to record a double-double.  This was after she started the season with four straight.  The Boil Makers held Ogwumike to eight rebounds.

Guard, KK Houser had a great game for Purdue, she led the Boil Makers with 20 points in the 31 minutes she played.  Courtney Moss had 12 points herself and was the only other player for Purdue to get to double-digits in scoring.

The win for Stanford gives head coach, Tara VanDerveer, win number 899 in her career.  “I know that everyone keeps reminding me of it (win #900), but I look at it as Florida Gulf Coast is our next opponent and we are going to watch video on them tonight and prepare for them like any other game” said VanDerveer on not looking to far ahead towards win 900.

Stanford will try to get VanDerveer win number 900 on Wednesday, as they continue their play in Puerto Vallarta where they take on Florida Gulf Coast.