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Canada vs. Mexico score, takeaways: Cyle Larin brace sees Canada top the Octagonal in World Cup Qualifying

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USATSI

Canada is well on the way to qualifying for their first World Cup since 1986 after a glorious 2-1 snow bowl victory against Mexico. A brace from Cyle Larin has seen him net his 11th goal in World Cup Qualifying (all stages) for Canada to end the round atop the Concacaf table. 

John Herdman had a masterful setup as Canada’s 3-4-3 controlled every aspect of the game, not allowing Mexico real chances until after the 70th minute when Canada already had a 2-0 advantage. Canada was bit with the injury bug early as Steven Vitoria had to come in for Doneil Henry in the 37th minute but that wouldn’t stop things from rolling. Cyle Larin opened the scoring right before half as Alistair Johnson had his shot saved by Memo Ochoa, who parried it right into Larin’s path. Ochoa may have been impacted by the cold or spent too much time looking in the mirror but it was a costly mistake.

Tata Martino made a host of changes at the half to try to counter Canada with Hirving Lozano and Julio Domingez making way for Jesus Corona and Roberto Alvarado. But it wasn’t enough to slow the tide as Larin got his second of the match in the 51st minute.

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Mexico made more attacking subs to up the pressure while Canada responded by subbing on Jonathan David for Larin to keep the battering ram in effect while searching for a third. El Tri got a breakthrough goal via Hector Hererra in the 89th minute that substitute Jesus Corona assisted but it wouldn’t be enough to climb back into things thanks to late Canadian heroics. I don’t know how Fransisco Cordova’s shot stayed out of the net but Milan Borjan and the defense kept Mexico out of the net at the end to ensure that Canada secured the signature victory tonight.

Here are three takeaways from the match: 

1. Is Tata Martino on the hot seat?

Usually, a coach in a World Cup qualification spot would be more than safe but Mexico expects to top the octagonal every time out so sitting level on points with Panama won’t make the federation happy. Add in back-to-back losses to the United States and Canada and Martino’s seat is heating up.

2. I have no words for how ridiculous this ending was

3. Cyle Larin is that dude

After hitting double-digit goals in World Cup qualifying, Larin is not only keeping pace with stars Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, he’s almost outperforming them, too!

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MLB Remains Undecided On A Monumental Rule Change

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(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

 

MLB has decided to try the automated strike zone during minor league play.

In fact, they have been trying it for a while and they have liked the results.

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However, they remain undecided to implement it in Major League Baseball for the 2024 season, according to MLB insider Bob Nightengale.

“There still has been no decision about whether there will be an automated strike zone in MLB in 2024, Rob Manfred says,” he tweeted.

The fact that there has been no decision yet doesn’t mean the situation can’t change in the upcoming days or weeks.

For now, all we know is that the automated zone won’t be used in 2023.

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However, 2024 might be a different story.

There are conflicting reports about MLB umpires’ success rate in 2022 and recent seasons, but with Twitter and other tech resources becoming more widespread, their failures become more evident by the day.

 

Social Media Has Exposed Umpires

Social media usually exposes a lot of MLB umpires, and while there are some of them who can be considered excellent at what they do (for example, Pat Hoberg called a game with no mistakes in the World Series), it seems like they make too many blunders and botch lots of calls that can ultimately change the outcome of a game.

In an effort to make the game more fair, the league could be willing to introduce the “robo umpires” in the not so distant future.

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Could it be in 2024?

Maybe, but there is nothing official yet.

Manfred had said in June that there could be two options for the automated zone to work in MLB: the first one would have the robo-umpires serve as an automated system, calling pitches and communicating balls and strikes to human umpires with an earpiece; and a second alternative would have robo umpires as a review and replay system of balls and strikes that lets skippers challenge calls.

We will have to wait to know if the technology will be used in 2024 or in the future.

The post MLB Remains Undecided On A Monumental Rule Change appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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MLB Insider Applauds The Josh Bell Fit In Cleveland

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

 

The Cleveland Guardians, not known for spending too much on free agents, made their move on Tuesday afternoon.

The MLB Winter Meetings set the scene for a lot of surprising moves in recent hours, and the Guardians certainly made one with their addition of first baseman/designated hitter Josh Bell.

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Bell is going to Cleveland for the next two seasons and $33 million.

He has the ability to opt out after the 2023 campaign if he wants.

MLB insider Buster Olney praised the signing and said he was a player the Guardians clearly needed.

“Josh Bell is a great fit for the Guardians. They needed a thumper in the middle of their order, and yes, a switch-hitter, a Cleveland lineup tradition,” he tweeted.

Bell is not particularly good with the glove, but as long as he can mash, it probably won’t matter.

 

Bell Can Provide Some Power

He had a strong season between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres, hitting .266/.362/.422 with 17 home runs and a 123 wRC+, or 23 percent better than the league-average batter.

He also hit 29 doubles and three triples, so while he won’t win a Home Run Derby, he is more than capable of providing some much-needed thump to the Guardians’ lineup.

The move for Bell also gives them flexibility to send Josh Naylor to the DH spot, or have him alternate first base and the DH with Bell.

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With Bell, Andres Gimenez, Jose Ramirez, Amed Rosario, Steven Kwan, and Oscar Gonzalez, the Guardians lineup is starting to take shape.

If they can land a top hitting catcher, they could be hard to stop in the AL Central.

They still have several months of offseason left to achieve that objective.

They are putting together a talented team for 2023.

The post MLB Insider Applauds The Josh Bell Fit In Cleveland appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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Homan defeats Wrana to start run at WFG Masters

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OAKVILLE, Ont. — Ottawa’s Team Rachel Homan picked up where they left off in the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling series.

After winning the HearingLife Tour Challenge in October, Team Homan kicked off their run in the WFG Masters with an 8-6 win over Team Isabella Wranå from Sweden in Draw 3 Tuesday at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex.

Tied 5-5 after five, Homan grabbed the lead for good with a three-ender in the sixth.

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Wranå was limited to just a single in the seventh and Homan didn’t have to throw her last in the eighth end as Wranā was unable to get shot rock.

The HearingLife Tour Challenge victory was Homan’s record-extending 12th Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling women’s title.

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Elsewhere, Winnipeg’s Team Chelsea Carey stole one point in the eighth end to beat Sweden’s Team Anna Hasselborg 5-4.

Team Michele Jäggi took two in the eighth end for the 6-5 win over Team Silvana Tirinzoni in a Swiss derby and South Korea’s Team Eun-Ji Gim downed Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge, Alta., 9-3.

UP NEXT

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The WFG Masters continues with Draw 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Broadcast coverage begins Thursday at 11:30 a.m. ET / 8:30 a.m. PT on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW (Canada).

NOTES

The WFG Masters is the third event of the 2022-23 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world. … Round-robin play runs through to Friday as teams play four games against opponents outside of their pools. … The top eight teams overall advance to Saturday afternoon’s quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for Saturday evening with both finals on tap for Sunday.

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