That’s Amaury News and Commentary podcast: Murakami whacks walk off double for 6-5 Japan win over Mexico in WBC; Reds Votto could be heading to Toronto; plus more

Japan players celebrate after Masataka Yoshida hit a home run scoring Kensuke Kondoh and Shohei Ohtani during the seventh inning of a World Baseball Classic game against Mexico, Monday, March 20, 2023, in Miami. (AP News photo)

On That’s Amaury News and Commentary:

#1 Amaury, I got to ask you team owners, general managers, managers, and coaches just to name a few have to be a little concerned when loaning some of their key star players to future World Baseball Classics after what happened to Team Venezuela and Houston Astro Jose Altuve getting hit on the hand and suffering a finger fracture.

#2 In the World Baseball Classic Japan’s Munetaka Murakami struggled in most of his at bats against Mexico but in the end Murakami after going 0-4 with three strikeouts. Murakami ripped a two run double off the centerfield fence that scored the game winning runs and won it for Team Japan 6-5 knocking in Shohei Ohtani and Masataka Yoshida for two RBIs.

#3 The Cincinnati Reds are considering trading Joey Votto to the Toronto Blue Jays if Votto would ask for the trade. The Reds would like to hold onto Votto but would seek a deal with the Blue Jays if Votto pushed for it if the Reds were out of the hunt later this season.

#4 Team USA teed off on Team Cuba on Sunday for a 14-2 win and they got home run help from Team USA’s Trea Turner. What went wrong with Cuba’s pitching they were in Team USA’s wheel house who pulled them over the fence.

#5 Amaury, San Francisco Giants pitcher Sergio Romo has just about one batter in him as he will go to the mound on Mon Mar 27th at Oracle Park to pitch to his last batter of his career as Romo will be retiring as a Giant when they face the Oakland A’s in the final exhibition game between the two clubs. Romo was on the 2012 and 2014 World Series Championship teams.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez and Manolo Hernandez Douen for the play by play action of 71 home games of the Oakland A’s on the A’s Spanish radio network 1010 KIQI San Francisco and 990 KATD Pittsburgh and read That’s Amaury News and Commentary at

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: World Baseball Classic- Cuba’s Baseball in Shambles

United States’ Trea Turner hits a home run during the second inning of a World Baseball Classic game against Cuba, Sunday, March 19, 2023, in Miami. (AP News photo)

World Baseball Classic: Cuba’s Baseball in Shambles

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

After 63 years of communism the government of Cuba has done what was almost impossible to predict just a few decades ago, their baseball is in total disarray.

Baseball was one of the few things left that the Cuban people could be proud of, but a dictatorship that has kept generations brainwashed to a radical ideology that doesn’t allows freedom of any sort, including private property or freedom of the press has finally taken its toll. Team Cuba was eliminated this Sunday in Miami by the US with a final score of 14-2.

For the first time since this tournament began in 2006, the Cuban team was allowed to have Cuban-born players that play in the US major leagues, like two of the most established players Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert who play for the Chicago White Sox. They both live in the US. The rest of the players will return to Cuba, maybe some will try to defect, and we will know soon enough.

A sellout crowd at Loan Depot Stadium in Miami was animated with the passion that these two nations have shared for baseball for over a century since the 1800s. The US merchant marines taught Cubans how to play this game and Cubans then taught much of Latin America how to play. FOX Sports 1 carried the game that showed many memorable images.

There was a fan seated behind the plate with a T-shirt with a picture of Che Guevara that had a line across and it read; “No Che here”! A dichotomy, because if the game were held in Havana, Cuba, and that fan would show up with that same T-shirt, first of all, he would have not been allowed to enter the stadium and probably would have spent the night in jail and will be labeled “an enemy of the State.”

But that is the difference between Democracy and Communism. Simple as that. FS 1 also showed a large blue banner that read “Abajo la Dictadura” trans- “Down with the Dictatorship”. Also, a Cuban flag that had written across something to the effect that baseball has left Cuba.

A few weeks ago Cuba finished last in the Caribbean Baseball Series. They even lost to the very small island of Curacao. Cuba ended last among the 8 teams in the same tournament that Cuba once dominated. Curacao is a small Dutch Caribbean island north of Venezuela.

Team Cuba’s hopes were high for the World Baseball Classic, but they were not a match for the United States who dominated and scored at will. Now the US will play for their second WBC title in a row and will face whoever wins Monday between Japan and México. The championship game is this Tuesday, March 21.

The once proud baseball country of Cuba has lost its best players who keep defecting to the US and are currently playing in the major leagues. That exodus of players will continue because Cuban baseball stars (the ones with the talent) know very well they will get paid here in the US Major Leagues, while in Cuba they are owned by the Cuban government.

It is nothing new that the dream of a baseball player is to ascend to the best leagues in the world and the major leagues offer the opportunity. Cuban players are no exception. If you are a great basketball player *wherever you are born” you dream to be in the NBA or a football player, you want to play in the NFL, and so on.

Now, Team Cuba after flying from Tokyo, Japan, to Miami, FL (USA) a trip of 7,500 miles, is on their way back from Miami to Havana, Cuba, a 50-minute flight. There is little doubt that so far 2023 has been a terrible year for the once proud Cuban baseball program, which is 100X100 sponsored by the Cuban government.

Cuba’s decline: Failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time. Finished last in the Caribbean Baseball Series and eliminated in the World Baseball Classic 2023.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez and Manolo Hernandez Douen for all the play by play of 71 home games on the Oakland A’s Spanish radio network on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and 990 KATD Pittsbugh and read That’s Amaury News and Commentary at

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: 2023 WBC Great Ratings

Team Venezuela’s Jose Altuve gets hit on the fingers on his right hand and had to leave the game during an at bat against Team USA at LoanDepot Park in Miami during the World Baseball Classic on Sat Mar 18, 2023 (AP News photo)

2023: World Baseball Classic Great Ratings

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

The World Baseball Classic tournament began in 2006. Major League Baseball wanted to manufacture a World Cup Soccer-like event after baseball was dropped from the Olympics. It is now played every four years.

The current 2023 WBC has been exciting reporting a substantial increase in ratings on television and sold-out baseball parks from Miami to Phoenix and also outside the US. The attendance had increased by 24 percent, in last Tuesday’s night semifinal 1.7 million on MLB Network was that network’s most-watched non-playoff game.

 The Japan-Korea game drew a 44.4 rating in Japan, a higher rating than any sport featured in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Korea, and the Dominican Republic all saw significant increases in viewership numbers for the 2023 WBC.

Some wonder about countries like; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Perú and other South-American countries. Those countries are heavily into Fútbol (Soccer, in the US) and they do not really follow the game of baseball as these other countries in the WBC, such as; Australia, Canada, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Japan, Dominican Republic, Venezuela,  México, Colombia, Panamá, Nicaragua and of course the United States of America, where baseball was born.

Also, other countries participating in 2023 are Chinese Taipei, South Korea (where they have professional baseball leagues)  Great Britain, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. In the case of the Netherlands, some of their best players play in the major leagues and come from the small Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curacao, and Saint Martin, all part of The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The popularity of baseball in Latin America continues to be as passionate as ever, especially since some of the great superstars in Major League Baseball are Latino players and should not go unnoticed by baseball teams here in the US, the strong Hispanic audience, the largest minority in the US.

According to the US Census data, there are 62.1 million Hispanics living in the US (many reports say it is close to 75 million) because lots of people do not register/take part in the Census. There are an estimated 11 to 15 million Hispanics who live in the US who do not have the documents necessary, however, those people are part of the economy of the US

The four remaining games of the World Baseball Classic at LoanDepot Park in Miami have been sold out, The ratings and the popularity during this tournament is growing like never before.

Catch Amaury Pi Gonzalez and Manolo Hernanez Douen for all the Oakland A’s play by play in Spanish on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and 990 KATD Pittsburg and That’s Amaury News and Commentary at

World Baseball Classic: USA just gets by Colombia 3-2

Mike Trout provided some offense for Team USA against Team Colombia at Chase Field on Wed Mar 15, 2023 (AP News photo)

USA 3. 7. 0

Colombia. 2. 6.0

Time: 3:02

Attendance: 29,856

Wed March 15, 2023

By Lewis Rubman

PHOENIX-Mexico’s resounding defeat of Canada this afternoon means that the United States went into this evening’s contest against Colombia knowing that, having lost to Mexico the only time the two teams faced each other in this series.

The the most that Team USA could achieve would be to enter the quarter-finals of this year’s World Baseball Classic as the second seed from Pool C. A loss to Colombia would eliminate the sons of Uncle Sam. As things turned out, the USA won a thriller, 3-2.

Because of the tournament rules covering pitcher usage, the Colombians had to play without the services of Adrián Almeida, Nabil Crismatt, and William Cuevas, while Lance Lynn, Nick Martínez, and Brady Singer were unavailable to the team from the States.

The USA had entered this round as number one seed and so had to play only one game as the visitors. This was it.

Colombia’s manager, Gilbert Cabrera, chose to go with lefty Luis DeAvila as his starting pitcher. That’s not a household name; its bearer went 6-8, 3.49, for Rome in the class high A South Atlantic League last year.

Mark De Rosa picked right handed Merrill Kelly, 13-8, 3.37 over 200-1/3 for the Diamondbacks, to open for Team USA, who will be, for the only time in this five day round, the road team.

DeAvila escaped trouble in he first inning when, on the heels of Mike Trout’s triple and a walk to Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado lashed a wicked double down the third base line that a beautiful play by Gio Ursula converted into an around the horn, inning killing double play.

Ursula, batting third in the home plate then made the last out second baseman Tim Anderson robbed him of a hit with an equally. Beautiful backhand pickup of a grounder to the right of the base, pivot, and mid air bullet throw to first.

De Avila retired the first two batters he faced in the second, the last one beingKyle Schwarber, who sent a fly to the warning track in left. Then the young Colombian starter was yanked in favor a right handed pitcher, Santiago Flores, also a class high A hurler. He struck Tim Anderson out swinging.

Colombia mounted a credible threat in their hat of that frame, loading the bases on walks to Jorge Alfaro and Jesús Marriage, sandwiched around a Texas League single to Melbrys Vitoria, but Kelly wiggled out of the jam.

The US broke the ice with two down in the top of the third. Mookie Betts rifled a safety to right and moved into a scoring position on a wild pitch while Mike Trout was at the plate. Trout then singled him home, and Team USA had a 1-0 lead.

After Paul Goldschmidt walk, the call went out to the bullpen for Jhon Romero of the Minnesota Twins. Nolan Arenado greeted him with a blast into the second deck in left field, but that line drive flew in a straight line to left of the foul pole.

Two pitches later, Arenado straightened out his trajectory, and ball landed in the glove of Jesús Marriaga in the warning track, the second warning track, to go with two spectacular grabs he’d made closer to the infield earlier in the game.

The Colombians knotted things up in their half of the frame. Oscar Mercado doubled to center with one away and advanced to third on Harold Ramirez’s ground out to second. He scored, in spite of Trout’s fine throw home, on Urshula’s sacrifice, then Alfaro hit a single to short, and Rodríguez knocked a 92 mph four seamer 425 deep into center field that brought Colombia’s catcher home. Melbsrys Viloria’s hard line drive to Trout ended the threat, but Colombia now lead, 3-1. To make matters worse for the red, white, and blue, Romero struck out the side in the visitors’ fourth.

It was Kendall Graveman, a nor Kelly, who pitched the bottom of that inning for the USA. Kelly had gone three innings and allowed two run, booth earned, on four hits,and two walks. He threw 61 pitches, 36 for strikes.

Colombia switched pitchers again for the top of the fifth. Rubén Galindo began his mound work by walking Will Smiithand striking out Trea Turner. Then Betts singled to left, sending Smith to third and taking second himself on the throw. After Turner fanned, exit Gallino, enter Jasier Herrera.

Daniel Bard assumed mound duties for the USA to start the hone fifth, a scoreless frame, notable for a successful challenge of the safe call on Mercado’s attempted steal of second. The call was reversed, and, if that had not happened, the USA might not have been leading 3-2 at the end of the episode.

Yapsón Gómez relieved Herrera with one on and one down ib the top of the sixth. (Are you following all these changes? Because I sure as hell can’t). And David Bender toed the rubber for Team USA in second half of the frame and set ‘em down, 1, 2,3. Jason Adam did the same in the seventh on three straight Ks.

Next to climb the mound was Guillermo Zúñiga for Colombia in the top of the eighth. After he put the Yanks down to a conga beat, Devin Williams tried his hand for them in the home half of the inning. He played it well; three up, three down.

It fell to Julio Vivas to try to keep Colombia in striking distance of a comeback in the top half of the ninth. He his job, and it now it was up to Ryan Pressly to preserve the USA’s precarious lead.

He got Alfaro to ground out to Nolan at third. Rodríguez lined out to Betts in right. Elías Díaz pinch hit form Viloria and managed to hit a single to short. Jordán Díaz pinch hit for Gustavo Camera. He swung and missed at an 0-2 curve ball. The ball bounced off towards third. Díaz ran to first but catcher Will Smith’s throw beat him, and the USA beat Colombia.

Kendall Graveman was the winning pitcher. Ryan Pressly got the save. Rubén Galindo was charged with the loss.

The team will go to Miami.

And tomorrow, I’ll head home. But first, I’ll stop in Surprise to take in a game. Between the A’s and the Royals at 1:00 in the afternoon. I’ll send you my impressions of that.

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: Mexico leans into pitches with 11-8 win over USA

Mexico’s Joey Meneses celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the United States during the fourth inning of a World Baseball Classic game in Phoenix, Sunday, March 12, 2023. (AP News photo)

Mexico. 11. 15. 0

USA. 5. 8. 0

Time: 3:41

Attendance: 47,534

Saturday, March 12, 2023

By Lewis Rubman

PHOENIX–Saturday’s encounter with Mexico (0-1) was the first opportunity for this year’s version of Team USA (1-0) to test its mettle against a serious opponent in a meaningful game. On opening night, the Yanquis had romped to a 6-2 triumph over Great Britain that was closer than expected. This came on the heels of Mexico’s upset 10-inning, 5-4 loss to Colombia 5-4.

Mexico’s starting pitcher, Patrick Sandoval, had a pretty good season last year. Toiling for the woeful Angels (I mistakenly called them the Dodgers in a previous article), he went 6-9, 2.91 in 148-2/3 innings over 27 games. Whether that performance was an outlier or the sign a marked improvement is yet to be seen; his lifetiebig league mark is 10-24, 3.70).

Nick Martínez, Team USA’s starter, is another middle of the road hurler. He went 4-4, 3.47, for the Padres, which brought his career MLB totals to 21-34,4.50.

Thanks to the WBC’s pitch limit of 65, it made sense for manager Mark De Rosa to have puled Martinez early, but, under normal cirumstance, he might have lasted longer.

Randy Arozamena got things going with a leadoff grounder to short. He was called out, but the video replay showed he was safe, and the call was reversed. After Alexander Verdugo flew out to center, Joey Meneses launched a 396 line drive hone run into the left field seats below the auxiliary press box, putting the visitors ahead, 2-0.

Kyle Tucker’s one out triple to right and a Tim Anderson single to the same field put the USA on the board and halved Mexico’s led in the second.

But Mexico came roaring back in their half of the third, restoring its two run margin on a series of infield singles, culmination in one to send by Isaac Paredes that plated Meneses and brought ex-Athletic Kendall Graveman to the mound to replace Martínez, who had lasted a mere 2-2/3 innings, in which he surrendered three tallies, all earned, but not merited, on five hits and a walk while striking out two. He threw 57 pitches, 33 for strikes.

After Graveman got his man, Brady Singer took over for him to start the fourth. He got his first man, but Aleck Thomas singled to left, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and, with two down, scored on Arozamena’s two bagger to center. 4-1, Mexico. Then, after Verdugo walked, Joey Meneses did it again; a line drive over the left centerfield fence, 412 feet from home. 7-1, Mexico.

Sandoval didn’t come out for the bottom of the fourth. He had thrown 55 pitches, 33 of them counting as strikes, and allowed one run, earned, on two hits and a walk. He was replaced vy Javier Assad, who retired the side in order.

It was Adam Ottovino on the hill for Uncle Sam in the sixth. That he got the side out in order is worth mentioning. That Meneses was one of the batters he retired is noteworthy. Otttovino then gave way to Aaron Loup for the top of the seventh frame.

Joseph Romero relieved Assad after the huge crowd of 47,534 sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” He got KyleTucker to fly out to center and fanned Tim Anderson, but then Will Smith took the ball out to left field seats to make the score 7-2.

The visitors’ eighth began with Daniel Bard pitching for the States. Austin Barnes greeted him with a ground single to center and then moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch and scored on Arozamena’s line drive double to left. When Bard finally was replaced by Devin Williams, Mexico was ahead, 11-2, achieved in ways too numerous to name. Williams retired a line drive to second to staunch the bleeding.

César Vargas took over for Mexico to face the top of the US lineup in the home eight. Betts gave him no trouble, but he issued a passport to Trout. Goldschmidt then singled to left, sending the pinch running Cedric Mullins to third. Bobby Witt, Jr. pinch hit for Arenado and lashed a two bagger to center, and it was 11-3 with Goldschmidt on third.

Vargas got Pete Alonso on a pop up to first and then gave way to Samuel Zarzueta, who gave a free pass to Tucker. With the bases loaded, Anderson smacked a double to left, bringing in Goldschmidtand Witt and sending Tucker to third. Now score was 11-5. It stayed there after Thomas caught Smith’s sharp liner to center.

Ryan Pressly entered the fray to face the battered but still leading Mexicans in the top of the ninth. He put them away to a samba beat, one-two-three.

Now it was was up to Gerard Reyes to preserve his team’s six run lead. He did it.

Sandoval was credited with the win; Martínez was charged with the loss.

Monday, at noon Colombia (1-0) will face Great Britain (0-2), followed at 7:00 by Canada (1-1) against the United States (0-1). This round of the WBC is turning out to be pretty Interesting

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.

MLB podcast with Charlie O: Japan’s Nootbaar making a name for himself; D-Backs Carroll signs 8 yr deal for $111M; plus more

Lars Nootbaar of Japan hits a single against China in the first inning of the Pool B game at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, March 9, 2023 (AP News photo)

On the MLB podcast with Charlie O:

#1 One of rising stars in the World Baseball Classic Lars Nootbaar it’s a name that Japanese fans couldn’t pronounce in English or Japanese but they’ve got a handle on it now. Nootbaar whose an outfielder for the St Louis Cardinals has gone 5 for 11 with two RBIs in Japan’s first three games where they’ve gone 3-0.

#2 Top Arizona Diamondbacks prospect rookie Corbin Carroll has signed a $111 million eight year deal after playing only 32 big league games. Carroll has a ninth year option worth $23 million. Carroll hit .260, four home runs in 115 at bats.

#3 How badly will the Philadelphia Phillies miss pitching prospect Andrew Painter will miss up to four weeks due to a UCL sprain. The good news Painter may not need elbow surgery. Painter was counting to make the opening pitching staff but had to get an MRI after experiencing a tender elbow.

#4 The Houston Astros after signing Jose Abreu as their everyday first baseman had no plans on keeping Yuli Gurriel who was a big part of those Astros championship teams. Gurriel signed with the Miami Marlins. Gurriel was limited as to where he was going as his numbers were going south hitting a career worst, .242, 53 runs, 53 RBIs, 8 home runs, and 132 hits.

#5 Charlie former San Francisco Giant starter Carlos Rodon will start the 2023 season on the shelf for the New York Yankees after it was announced that Rodon will be on the IL due to a forearm strain. The Yankees said that Rodon will not pitch for at least seven to ten days. The Yanks had big expectations from Rodon that’ll just have to wait a couple more weeks.

Join Charlie O for all the latest headlines in MLB Sundays at

World Baseball Classic: USA uses 4 pitchers to close out Great Britain 6-2

United States’ Kyle Schwarber, right, celebrates with third base coach Dino Ebel after hitting a three-run home run against Great Britain during the fourth inning of the World Baseball Classic at Chase Field in Phoenix, Saturday, March 11, 2023. (AP News photo)

GB. 2. 6. 2

USA. 6 9. 0

Sat March 11, 2023

By Lewis Rubman

PHOENIX–After this afternoon’s upset of Mexico by Colombia, it seemed that we’d run out of unexpected events, but it seems as if the suburb to the northwest of Phoenix isn’t the only surprise in Arizona. Great Britain’s second man at bat, Tracy Thompson, took Adam Wainwright 391 feet deep into the seats in right right center to give the Brits a 1-0 lead before the Yanks could even face a pitch thrown in anger.

But one there were no shocks to our anticipation, Team USA manhabndled their guests, 6-2. The USA used four pitchers, Wainwright, who got the win, and Jason Adam, Kyle Freehand, an David Bender. GB used six, Vance Worley, the loser, followed by Jacob Esch, Ryan Long, Daniel Cooper,and Michael Peterson. The American attack was led by Nolan Arenado with three hits, two or them doubles and two RBI in five times at bat and Kyle Schwerber, who drove in three while going one for three.

The USA came close to drawing even in its half of the first by loading the bases against Worley, a right hander who pitches for the independent league team out of Kane County, IL, after a big league career that netted a record of 35-36, 4.09. The threat was put together by a single by Nola Arenado sandwiched between walks to Paul Goldshchmidt and Kyle Scnwarber. It ended with Trea Turner grounding out to second.

Two innings later, they took the lead, never to relinquish it, driving Worley from the box in the process. With one down, Goldschmidt reached first on a throwing error by second sacker Anfernese Seymour. Arenado drove him in with a two bagger into the left field corner. Turner flew out, and Turner drew a walk.

Kyle Tucker’s single to center brought Turner home with the leading tally before Jeff McNeil flew out to left to end the frame. Jacob Esch, another righty, replaced Worley after to walk to Turner. Worley’s line was 2-2/3 inning pitched; two runs allowed, both unearned; with three walks and a strike out. He threw 60 pitches, 12 for strikes.

Esche lasted 22 pitches, leaving after he’d walked Mike Trout and hit Goldschmidt with one to in the fifth. He gave way to Ryan Long. Schwarber touched him for a 428 foot homer to right center that put the hone team up, 5-1.

Jason Adam came in to pitch for the USA when Wainwright had completed four innings of work. The only run he’d allowed was Thompson’s first inning blast. He allowed a total of four hits and a walk, striking out four. He threw 49 pitches, 36 for strikes. Lefty Kyle Freehand took over mound duties to start the sixth, retired the side in order, and let in a run on a pinch hit triple to D’Shawn Knowles and a ground out to Seymour in the second. Bender wrapped things up in the ninth.

Daniel Cooper pitched the sixh for the Brits and surrendered another run. Michael Peterson came on in the eighth

On Sunday, when California goes on daylight time while most of Arizona stays on standard time, the games will start at noon and 7:00 pm in both places. Great Britain will return for the 12:00 game against Canada, and Mexico will face the USA in the nightcap. We’ll be there.

Lewis Rubman is a MLB beat writer for