World Classic: Mound Puzzle

World Classic: Mound Puzzle


PHOENIX  |  Already Canada's situation is perilous on the mound, a limit on shots made by a pitcher in a game is likely to particularly annoy the Canadian team at the Classic baseball world.

“The guys are still in their training camp period and there are restrictions on the number of pitches, which is 65 in a game. A starter can hardly last more than four innings,” explains Quebecer Denis Boucher, who is the pitching coach for the Canadian team for the competition taking place in Arizona.

Canada obviously does not have the depth of some other countries, such as the United States. Thus, the absence of pitcher Jameson Taillon, now with the Chicago Cubs, and the recent withdrawal of Nick Pivetta, of the Boston Red Sox, could complicate the task.

A game of 'chess

“It sure hurts, he had to be a starter for us and give several good innings, commented Boucher on the withdrawal of Pivetta, whose winter preparation would have been slowed by COVID-19. With his absence, we risk having to give a start to a reliever. ”

Over the course of the games, the relievers will inevitably be numerous to tread the mound. It will then be the start of a great game of chess for manager Ernie Whitt and his assistants, including Boucher. According to the official rules of the World Classic, throwing on three consecutive days is prohibited. In addition, a gunner must have a complete day of rest as soon as he makes 30 shots or more.

“ With the Canadian team, we manage so that the same pitcher is not used for two consecutive days, summed up the Quebec coach. And with four matches in four days, it can get complicated. 

Difficulties already

Canada has about fifteen pitchers, including Quebecer Phillippe Aumont. The latter is not the only one to be there when he has not played professional baseball for years. John Axford, Adam Loewen, Scott Mathieson and Andrew Albers notably represent the country.

In the preseason game lost 11 to 7 against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, Loewen and Evan Rutckyj notably experienced trouble. 

Loewen, 38, was credited with the loss after allowing three runs, all earned, in two-thirds of an inning. 

For his part , Rutckyj allowed four runs, while only making two outs.

Canada's final preseason game: Quebec's Phillippe Aumont pitched an inning, allowing no runs and not allowing only one walk Thursday afternoon in a 5-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners.