Approximately 44,000 screaming Mexicans packed Chase field as the United States took on team Mexico in round one of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. All the star power (with the exception of Adrian Gonzalez and Sergio Romo) was on the American side, but the fans and final score went to Mexico.
US starter R.A. Dickey struggled early, especially when trying to throw his knuckleball. The choice for the team USA ace was an odd one after all, considering all the first round games will be played in a dome, where there is little wind to make the knuckler dance. Mexican starter Yovani Gallardo had no such problems and was dominant through three innings.
Overall, almost every pitcher struggled with control and impatience is what really killed team USA. On separate occasions, both Brandon Phillips and Joe Mauer swung at balls far out of the strike zone while in a hitter's count. Situations like these went far to kill many chances at a rally as the Americans stranded eight runners while scoring just twice.
The Indians lone representative in the game was dynamic reliever, Vinnie Pestano. He was forced to warm up early as Dickey struggled and was ready in the bullpen by the fourth inning. After Dickey recovered, Twins reliever Glen Perkins threw the fifth and Pestano was used in the sixth. Vinnie threw the first perfect inning of the game for the US and struck out a batter, using just nine pitches after throwing considerably more than that warming up in the bullpen. Luke Gregerson (San Diego) continued his trend and retired team Mexico in order during the next inning as well.
As a team, the United States roster looked great defensively, average on the mound and a little behind at the plate. They will face upstart team Italy in tomorrow night's game and will need to improve significantly over tonight's effort if they want to win that game and move on to the next round.
One of the more exciting moments for team USA was when ex-Indian Karim Garcia missed two consecutive plays in the outfield.
The video is terrible, but if you turn your speakers up you can get an idea of the crowd noise. This was the final at bat of the game. This was the loudest sporting event I've ever been to.