PHOENIX — Mark DeRosa didn’t leave Chase Field until 1 a.m. Monday morning, making calls and strategizing.
He didn’t even sleep until 4 a.m., still trying to piece together what happened in their ugly loss to Mexico.
Well, 24 hours later, the USA manager is going to sleep like a baby.
Team USA obliterated Canada 12-1 in seven innings on Monday night and now beat no-man Colombia on Wednesday night to punch a ticket to Miami in the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic.
They are in complete control of their own destiny, not having to worry about any tiebreakers, run differentials or run quotas.
Beat Colombia and they’re in.
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It would have been different if Great Britain hadn’t shocked Colombia earlier in the day, avoiding the possibility that the US would have to beat Colombia by more than seven runs on Wednesday, but now, all they have to do is win.
“We’re definitely in control,” U.S. captain Mike Trout said. “When Great Britain won before, it helped us a bit. But we know after the defeat [to Mexico]We have to win and see what happens.
They looked relaxed and confident on Monday, immediately going out and taking all their mental turmoil out on Canada, while DeRosa could sit back and watch.
“We came in with a little swagger,” said Trout, whose three-run homer in the first inning broke the game open. “I think [the Mexico defeat] Woke us up a bit. The message for us is to get out there and rock, be us.
On this night, DeRosa didn’t need to watch his pitching staff explode before his eyes and struggled to do anything about it, with veteran starter Lance Lynn giving up just two hits in five dominant innings.
“What Lance did tonight was tremendous,” DeRosa said. “Restoring the bullpen was huge for us. It kind of happened perfectly.”
Relievers who have to use only one reliever in Miles Mikolas can pitch multiple innings, face multiple batters, or not need to worry about pitch counts.
After a 9-0 lead off 19-year-old Canadian starter Mitch Pratt in the first inning, DeRosa watched his team play on a laser show and never looked back.
“I think we tried to feel ourselves in the first couple of games,” Trout said. “But today we came in with the mentality that we were going to dominate.”
The game lasted just 2 hours, 20 minutes when the mercy rule was called in the seventh inning.
In fact, it was almost as if DeRosa had scripted the game.
“It starts and starts on the mound,” DeRosa said before the game. “It always does. It sets the tone. I want to come out on top with a chance for this offense to explode. I think they’re ready. I definitely will.”
Lynn pitched a 1-2-3 first inning, and the lineup responded with a single, walk, walk, two-run double, sacrifice fly, walk, run-scoring single, ground out, run-scoring triple and a three-run homer.
It was a complete onslaught, showing the baseball world how dangerous their lineup was, producing two doubles, two triples, two homers and 22 total bases.
“It was about going out and dominating,” American infielder Tim Anderson said. “That’s what we did with the lineup. Being in the lineup with so many guys, you don’t have to do much. The whole goal is really to get the stick across.
And we kept pouring on them,” he said.
Everyone in the starting lineup but outfielder Kyle Tucker produced at least one hit, led by two hits from Anderson and catcher JD Realmuto.
Everyone in the lineup drove in at least one run but Mookie Betts, led by Trout’s three RBI.
Both Tucker and Realmuto had at least one run, while five players scored two runs.
If Team USA advances to the quarterfinals, it will be on Tuesday and another day on Thursday.
Of course, America has blemishes, which were exposed in their ugly loss to Mexico. They don’t have any Cy Young winners on their staff. Even if Shohei Ohtani is omitted, they could face aces like Japan’s Yu Darvish or Yoshinobu Yamamoto to enter the quarterfinals; Sandy Alcantara of the Dominican Republic; Mexico’s Julio Urias or Puerto Rico’s Marcus Stroman.
There’s a reason America wasn’t the favorite to win the tournament, but after Monday’s loss, they’ve regained their confidence.
Who knows, they might have found another second baseman in the process? Anderson, The Chicago White SoxThe All-Star shortstop played second base for the first time in his career, and it looked like he had played all his life.
“He loves the moment, he has an edge about him,” DeRosa said.
Anderson went 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI, two runs scored, a walk and flawless defense.
“I’m always out to prove something,” Anderson said, “to be one of the greats. I’ve got a chance for the world to see what kind of athlete I am.”
The White Sox have certainly known his talent for a long time, but now that he’s on the world stage, everyone can see that he’s one of the best in the game.
“During your career,” says Lynn, his White Sox teammate, “you see guys who aren’t afraid of moments. Tim Anderson isn’t afraid of anything.
“He’s been through a lot in his life to be where he is.
“And I don’t think anybody on the mound intimidated him at any point.”
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And now, the entire team is echoing the same sentiments as the U.S. dominates the way they expected.
Their charter group flight is scheduled for Thursday morning from Phoenix to Miami.
They want to be in it.
They may have pitching restrictions, individual club demands, or personal demands, but they are more than capable of going home early.
“We’re going to figure it out,” DeRosa says. “It has to change. No doubt it will when we get on that plane to Miami.
Follow Bob Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale.