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Mexico defeats Venezuela 11-9, still eliminated from World Baseball Classic

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Team Mexico narrowly missed out on forcing a tiebreaker game to earn the right to advance to the next round of the World Baseball Classic. Despite defeating Team Venezuela on Sunday night 11-9, it has been eliminated. That was determined by average runs allowed per defensive inning. Mexico (1.12) trailed Venezuela (1.11). As a result, Venezuela and Italy will play a tiebreaker on Monday.

Mexico jumped out to a 5-0 lead against Venezuela in the second inning on an RBI double by Japhet Amador, a sacrifice fly by Luis Alfonso Cruz, and a three-run home run by Esteban Quiroz. Venezuela struck for a run in the bottom of the third on a Martin Prado single, but Brandon Laird extended Mexico’s lead to 8-1 in the fifth with a three-run homer of his own.

From there, it was a back-and-forth affair. Venezuela rallied for three runs in the bottom half of the fifth on an Ender Inciarte double, a Prado double, and a Miguel Cabrera single, reducing Venezuela’s deficit to 8-4. Adrian Gonzalez lifted a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth to make it 9-4, but Venzuela struck for two in the bottom half thanks to RBI singles from Robinson Chirinos and Jose Altuve. Mexico’s Chris Roberson hit an RBI single to push it to 11-6, and Venezuela responded with three more runs in the bottom half of the seventh on a Victor Martinez two-run home run and a forced-in run when Chirinos was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Pitchers Oliver Perez and Roberto Osuna were able to get four and two outs, respectively, to hold Venezuela at bay and end the game in an 11-9 victory for Mexico.

Mexico’s first baseman, Adrian Gonzalez, isn’t happy with the results.

As mentioned, Italy and Venezuela will match up on Monday in a tiebreaker game. The winner will join Puerto Rico from Pool D and advance to the next round, Pool F, where their other opponents include the Dominican Republic and the United States. The winner of Monday’s tiebreaker will play the U.S. on Wednesday at Petco Park in San Diego.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics