3/9/2013 2:39 A.M. ET
Must-win for Canada against confident Mexico
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Mexico enters Saturday's World Baseball Classic game against Canada with serious momentum. Canada needs to steal it away in a hurry.
With Pool D play entering its third day and the tournament heating up on the way to the second round in Miami, a win on Saturday afternoon is a virtual necessity for both clubs.
Marco Estrada will start for Mexico and left-hander Chris Leroux will take the hill for Canada in the game at Chase Field, which has first pitch scheduled for 12:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET). The game can be seen on MLB Network and on ESPN Deportes.
Mexico was able to breathe a bit easier after upsetting the pool-favorite team from the United States, 5-2, on Friday. Mexico had suffered a letdown loss against Italy on Thursday afternoon and needed the victory to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole.
Now the team is 1-1 and poised to be in very good shape for the second round if it can knock off Canada.
"The feeling is great," team captain and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said. "We're 1- 1, ready to go tomorrow and looking for that second win. We're excited. We know we've got to win tomorrow. Canada's a good team, they got a lot of big leaguers in their lineup, guys that can really do some damage. They've got some good pitching.
"So we've got to go out there tomorrow and do it again … just keep fighting."
For Canada, Saturday is a must-win and the team knows it.
Manager Ernie Whitt didn't mince words when asked about what the club needed to do better after suffering a mercy-rule shellacking by the Italians in a 14-4, eight-inning loss on Friday afternoon.
"Again, it's a game that you go out and you try to win," Whitt said. "Every time we go on the field, we try to win. So we're going to have to try to put it behind us.
"And it doesn't look good, let's be honest, but stranger things have happened. We have to win the next two games now and get some help."
• Canada is 2-4 all-time in the World Baseball Classic, with both victories coming in 2006, and the team has yet to advance from the first round.
• Estrada made 23 starts for the Milwaukee Brewers last year and had a 5-7 record. He cemented a position for himself in the 2013 starting rotation behind his Brewers and Mexico teammate, Yovani Gallardo, however, with a 3.64 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 138 1/3 innings.