Team United States will be joining Team Dominican Republic in advancing to the next round after soundly defeating Team Canada on Sunday night by an 8-0 margin. Canada has been eliminated with a 0-3 record.
The U.S. struck early against Canada starter Ryan Dempster. The club loaded the bases with one out in the first inning, then scored two when Eric Hosmer doubled to center field. After Paul Goldschmidt walked to load the bases, Andrew Albers relieved Dempster and gave up an inherited run on a Buster Posey ground out to boost the U.S. lead to 3-0.
In the second inning, the U.S. had runners on first and second with one out against Albers, who promptly served up a three-run home run to Nolan Arenado. Hosmer doubled again, this time to left, and came around to score on a one out single by Posey.
The U.S. was held scoreless in the third through sixth innings, but Posey came through again with a solo home run to left-center in the seventh off of Jim Henderson.
U.S. starter Danny Duffy pitched four outstanding innings, holding Canada to two hits and on walks with seven strikeouts on 63 pitches. Mychal Givens pitched a scoreless fifth. Tyler Clippard took over in the sixth and tossed a pair of scoreless frames. Jake McGee took over in the eighth and kept Canada off the board. Nate Jones pitched a scoreless ninth to seal the 9-0 victory for Team U.S.
The U.S. will start the next round on Wednesday in Pool F, held at Petco Park in San Diego. Their opponent will either be Venezuela, Mexico, or Italy, depending on Sunday night’s game between Venezuela and Mexico. A loss by Venezuela would put three teams at 1-2 in Pool D and force a tiebreaker game.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.
Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.
“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”
A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.
Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.
Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.
The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.
Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.
Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.
UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: