In a crucial World Baseball Classic matchup, Team USA bounced back from their previous heavy defeat to Mexico with a commanding performance against Canada.
Team USA wasted no time establishing dominance in the game, exploding with nine runs in the opening inning. Lance Lynn, the starting pitcher, and the rest of the team continued to build on their lead, securing an emphatic 12-1 victory in just seven innings, invoking the mercy rule.
It’s important to understand that the mercy rule is applicable only during the first round of the WBC, where games can end prematurely if there’s a 15-run lead after five innings or a 10-run lead after seven innings. Additionally, tiebreakers in the tournament are determined by runs allowed, making running up the score strategically beneficial.
Following their challenging loss to Mexico the previous day, Team USA needed a strong start to rejuvenate their campaign, and they executed their plan brilliantly. Despite Canada’s 19-year-old highly-touted prospect, Mitch Bratt, taking the mound, he struggled mightily against the formidable USA lineup. Bratt managed to retire just one of the seven batters he faced, and Canada’s bullpen couldn’t stem the tide.
Facing Team USA’s powerful lineup at such a young age proved to be a daunting task for Bratt. He struggled with control, managing only nine strikes out of 25 pitches. In essence, Canada sacrificed Bratt to the powerhouse USA lineup, resulting in an overwhelming victory for the Americans. While Bratt is regarded as the No. 17 prospect in the Rangers’ system by MLB.com, noted for his cerebral and advanced approach to the game, this assignment was undeniably challenging for the young pitcher.
Sunday’s tumultuous defeat forced Team USA to deploy eight different pitchers over the course of nine innings. Some MLB teams had imposed pitching restrictions, preventing pitchers from appearing on consecutive days. Consequently, USA manager Mark DeRosa faced a challenging pitching situation heading into Monday’s game.
However, the American offense rose to the occasion and secured an early lead, while veteran right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn delivered a stellar performance, pitching deep into the game. Lynn allowed just one run (a solo home run) in his five innings on the mound before reaching the WBC’s pitch limit of 65 pitches for the first round. Impressively, Lynn retired 15 of the 17 batters he faced, boasting a 65% strike rate with 42 strikes out of 65 pitches. With a comfortable lead, Lynn focused on attacking the strike zone and efficiently securing outs.
With a 2-1 record in pool play, Team USA now controls its destiny, partly thanks to Great Britain’s unexpected win over Colombia. A victory against Colombia in Wednesday’s game would ensure their progression to the second round. The team enjoys a day off on Tuesday before returning to the field, with Arizona Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Merrill Kelly set to start against Colombia.
Meanwhile, Canada holds a 1-1 record and faces matches against Colombia and Mexico on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Historically, Canada has never advanced beyond pool play in previous WBC competitions.