This game is essentially a must win game for both teams despite Canada being 2-0 and Mexico being 1-1. The way the tiebreakers work out, Canada will advance to the second round with a win or a loss where they give up just one or two runs. Mexico advances with a win or a loss paired with an unlikely loss by the US to South Africa on Friday by seven or more runs. If Mexico beats Canada and scores three or more runs, Mexico and the US advance. Another twist is that if the game ends in a tie after 14 innings, Canada moves on to the second round in Anaheim and Mexico would only be able to advance if the U.S. lost to South Africa.
Jeff Francis will start for Canada and Esteban Loaiza will be on the mound for Mexico. Not that the two countries have a big rivalry, but this is the biggest baseball games these two nations have ever played against each other.
Canada has shown it can hit, scoring 19 runs in its first two games. Mexico was shut out by the U.S., but managed 10 runs against South Africa.
If anyone is thinking that somehow Canada will try to play for 1-0 or 2-1 win, I don't think it's likely. It's just too hard to do in baseball. You can't run out the clock.
The FIFA World Cup has had some shady dealings with teams manipulating final scores to gain advantages. One of the ones I remember was at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
Group 2 had West Germany, Austria, Algeria, and Chile in it. West Germany opened up against Algeria and lost in a stunning 2-1 upset. Austria beat Chile and Austria in its next two matches while West Germany bounced back to rout Chile 4-1 in its next match.
The last matches were set for June 24 and June 25. Algeria played Chile on the 24th and won 3-2. That left the Algerians were four points, but had a goal difference of zero. Austria and West Germany played on the 25th and Austria came in to the match with four points and +3 in goals. West Germany had two points and were +2. So if West Germany were able to beat Austria in a low-scoring match, the two neighbors would be through to the second round and Algeria would be out.
And what was the final result? West Germany 1, Austria 0. Germany scored 10 minutes in to the games and for the next 80 minutes the two sides wandered around the field with a general lack of enthusiasm. The Algerians were perturbed that Austria didn't even appear to try. The press dubbed the game Anschluss 1982. Germany would go on to lose to Italy in the final.