The World Baseball Classic has already produced some of the most exciting games in the tournament’s history, and there have been multiple upsets.
Venezuela took the tournament by surprise when they defeated the championship favorite Dominican Republic in the opening matchup, and on the second day of Pool C matchups, Mexico completed an upset of their own.
Led by Los Angeles Angels starter Patrick Sandoval and Washington Nationals slugger Joey Meneses, Mexico completed an 11-5 rout of USA in a shocking victory. Team USA was among the favorites to win the tournament, while Mexico entered with the hopes of moving on to the quarter-finals.
Sandoval pitched a gem with the pitch limits set for him, going three innings while giving up just two hits and one run. After the game, the southpaw called it one of the best moments of his career, via Kyle Glaser of Baseball America:
Patrick Sandoval: “This is up there with some of the greatest nights of my career”
— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) March 13, 2023
Sandoval faced a stacked lineup but delivered for Team Mexico, and he even struck out Mike Trout on four pitches in the first inning.
The crowd, which was mostly rooting for Mexico, provided a ton of energy and excitement for the game, which was an experience Sandoval wont soon forget, via Jesse Borek of MLB.com:
“I have never played in an atmosphere like that,” said Mexico starter Patrick Sandoval, who worked three innings of one-run ball. “I’m still fired up from it.”
Mexico’s win put them in a solid position to advance to the quarter-finals despite their opening game loss to Colombia. USA now may be on the outside looking in if they are among the three teams to finish 3-1 in their pool.
As for Sandoval, he is ineligible to pitch for another four days, but regardless of what happens moving forward, he put on an impressive showing when the lights were the brightest, and the Angels will hope to see more of that from him during the season.
Mike Trout: Team USA losing WBC would be ‘a failure’
The expectations were high for USA Baseball going into the WBC, and Angels superstar and Team USA captain Mike Trout only has one goal in mind.
“I think the whole main reason we’re here is to win this thing,” Trout said. “I mean, all the other stuff is great, being able to play with each other, get to know each other a little bit more. But there’s only one thing on our mind, trying to win this whole thing.
“There’s a lot of great countries out there that have a lot of great teams, but I think that’s the real reason I signed up. I’m trying to win this thing and there’s nothing else. Anything else is a failure”
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