Heading into Monday’s matchup with Team Canada, Team USA faced uncomfortable territory in what essentially became a must-win matchup in the World Baseball Classic after their upset loss to Team Mexico the day before.
Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout joined USA for the first time in his Major League career, carrying the captain title, which also pushed other top players from around MLB to join. His presence was a rallying cry, and manager Mark DeRosa’s offense came to life.
Racking up nine first-inning runs against Canada’s young pitching staff propelled their chances in pool play more into their favor, with some help from Great Britain defeating Colombia as well. Needing to even out their run-differential and runs per out, USA carried the loss against Team Mexico over the weekend and used it in their preparation.
“I think obviously a tough loss last night,” Trout said after their win against Canada. “We came in with a little swagger. I think it woke us up a little bit. The message for us was go out there and bang, be ourselves. I think the first couple of games we were just trying to feel ourselves.
“But today we came in just with a mindset of we’re going to dominate. And you put that pressure on a group, that’s what’s going to happen. We came out, put up nine runs early for the starter and that was huge.”
A win over Columbia on Wednesday would secure their advance into the next round to be held at loanDepot Park in Miami, Florida. Team USA sits at 2-1 and a follow-up performance on Wednesday locks up Pool C.
“We’re definitely in control,” Trout said. “Obviously, when Great Britain won earlier today, it kind of helped us out a little bit. But we knew after the loss last night we had to win out, win out and see what happens.
And now we’ve got to come out — we’ve got an off day tomorrow — we’ve got to come out the same energy and come out with a win.”
Mike Trout learned of Angels teammate Shohei Ohtani also homered Monday
While Trout contributed a three-run homer to Team USA’s effort over Canada, Angels teammate Shohei Ohtani flexed his own power, adding his first home run of the WBC.
The Team USA captain learned of Ohtani’s long ball after their win on Monday, “Shoey hit a homer tonight too?” adding that “nothing surprises me with him.”
Ohtani has posted eight runs batted in during the WBC, as a key cog for Team Japan’s offense.
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