PHOENIX — A must-win situation arrived early for the United States in the World Baseball Classic.
The loss to Mexico on Sunday night in front of a capacity crowd in Phoenix put the U.S. in a precarious position. A loss to Canada in Monday’s night Pool C game would leave the Americans needing a win Wednesday against Colombia — and some help — to advance to the next round.
The Americans are 1-1 following the 11-5 loss to Mexico. The Canadians are 1-0 after their 18-8 mercy-rule victory Sunday in seven innings over Great Britain.
“The U.S. team, on paper they’re pretty sound,” Canada manager Ernie Whitt said. “We’ll know more about them (Monday). But right now, we’re celebrating this win (over Great Britain), and we’ll take it one day at a time.”
The shortened game between Canada and Great Britain still lasted three hours and 38 minutes.
A total of 13 pitchers for both teams threw 356 pitches with only about half of them (189) for strikes.
Canada’s 18 runs tied the World Baseball Classic record that was set by Japan against China in 2006. Canada had 17 hits and 16 walks.
Early Monday in Tokyo, however, South Korea broke that record with a 22-2 win over China in Pool B action.
“The boys kept the rally going today,” said Tyler O’Neill, who had four hits, including a three-run double, of Canada’s win. “A lot of good at-bats out there. A lot of walks. It was really fun to watch.”
Canada will start left-hander Matt Bratt against the U.S. He is one of the top prospects in the Texas Rangers’ organization.
Team USA will start veteran right-hander Lance Lynn, who is in his 12th season in the major leagues and entering his third with the Chicago White Sox. The two-time All-Star has a 123-84 career record.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Lynn said. “I’m looking forward to the atmosphere. It should be fun. Obviously here it’s a little bit more intense earlier in the year, because spring training games don’t bring that.”
The U.S. will try to bounce back from Sunday’s loss in which eight pitchers allowed a combined 15 hits.
The Americans’ top four batters in the lineup — Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado — went a combined 2-for-14 against Mexico.
Betts is 1-for-10 and Trout 1-for-6 in the first two games.
“No one in here has to impress anybody,” U.S. manager Mark DeRosa said. “I think sometimes when you get all these great players in one room, everyone’s trying to still feel out who is the alpha in the room. There’s a ton of them.
“We just need more settled ABs (at-bats).”
–Field Level Media