If anyone wanted to know why baseball is the best sport on this planet, all they had to do was watch last night’s Mexico versus Japan game.
Without sounding, well, weird, it’s one of those games that almost bring tears to your eyes that the game is so beautiful, so unpredictable, so spellbinding, so compelling, so thrilling.
Japan started Roki Sasaki, who is being called the greatest pitcher on the planet—not by Japanese announcers but by the Americans.
Last season, pitching for his Japanese league team, Sasaki pitched a perfect game, striking out 19 hitters. In his next start, he followed that up with eight innings of perfect baseball, striking out 14. Unfortunately, the Justin Bieberfication of baseball has swept the shores of Japan as well, and his Japanese manager pulled him from that second game after 103 pitches, thus robbing him of the distinction of pitching back-to-back perfect games.
Last night Sasaki was dominating, until Team Mexico stunned the world by scoring three runs off the best pitcher on the planet.
They were cruising into the seventh with a 3-0 lead when Team Japan, undefeated in this World Baseball Classic, came off the mat and scored three runs of their own.
Mexico immediately jumped ahead with two in the top of the eighth. Japan countered with a run in their bottom half of the inning.
Mexico went into the bottom of the ninth with a 5-4 lead, just three outs away from doing the impossible: beating the two-time winner of the WBC.
But baseball is cruel and beautiful at the same time. And Japan rallied to score twice in the bottom of the ninth. It started, of course, with a double from Shohei Ohtani. And it ended with a one-out, two-on double from Munetaka Murakami.
After winning their game on Monday, Team USA pitcher Adam Wainwright, who has been on teams that have won the World Series, said the World Baseball Classis was the most fun he has had playing baseball.
The fun wraps up tonight. Japan versus the United States.
This has been an amazing tournament. It will be a shame that is has to end tonight.
Texas vs San Francisco, 3:05
White Sox vs Texas, 3:05