Mexico beat the doors off the United States Sunday night in the World Baseball Classic, which creates several obstacles for Team USA to advance out of pool play.
In Sunday’s game, Joey Meneses picked up right where he left off last year with the Nationals by slamming two home runs and driving in five runs in Mexico’s 11-5 win. Austin Barnes started behind the plate for the second straight day for Mexico, had a single, a walk, scored a run, and stole a base off his Dodgers teammate Will Smith.
Smith made his first start for Team USA, and homered in the seventh inning.
Will power for Team USA! pic.twitter.com/pO9uOZersg— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 13, 2023
Unfortunately for the U.S., that homer only cut the deficit to five runs. But giving up 11 runs was the real killer for Team USA, which will need help to advance out of Pool C. Team USA is 1-1, as is Mexico, who lost to 1-0 Colombia Saturday. Those are the three best teams in the pool.
As we saw in Pool A in Taiwan, multi-team ties are settled first by record against the tied teams. The next tiebreaker is runs allowed divided by defensive innings, which you might remember Adrián González being quite perturbed about (as well as the lack of clarity from WBC officials) back in 2017 when Mexico lost on a tiebreaker.
The U.S. allowed 11 runs in its one game against Mexico, and plays Colombia on Wednesday night, the final game of the pool. Mexico allowed 10 total runs in its two games against the U.S. and Colombia, and Colombia allowed four runs to Mexico. That means in the possibility of a three-way tie between these three teams, Team USA would need to blow out Colombia or could be sent home in pool play for the first time in five World Baseball Classics. J.J. Cooper at Baseball America explains:
Assuming a 9-inning game, even if Colombia loses by seven runs to Team USA, it wins the tiebreaker against Team USA, because it would have the same number of runs allowed, but with 3 more outs.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) March 13, 2023
In Pool D in Miami, Venezuela won’t be going home any time soon. They have taken control of that group by beating their biggest competition in their first two games. On Sunday, Venezuela struck early with seven runs in the first two innings en route to beating Puerto Rico 9-6.
David Peralta had an RBI single and walked twice for Venezuela, playing left field. They are off Monday.
In Pool C, Mexico is off Monday. Colombia plays Great Britain, with Team USA playing Canada in the nightcap.