Early MLB picks for division winners, MVPs and more
Spring training is still ahead, but the MLB season is just around the corner. Steve Gardner and Ryan Lewis present their early picks for the season, and explain why new rule changes may affect how you place your bets.
PHOENIX – Mark DeRosa didn’t leave Chase Field until 1 a.m. Monday, making calls and planning strategies.
He didn’t sleep until 4 am, still trying to dissect what happened in their ugly loss to Mexico.
Well, in 24 hours, the director of the United States will sleep like a baby.
Team USA obliterated Canada, 12-1, in seven innings Monday night, and now needs a win Wednesday night against undermanned Colombia to get a ticket to Miami in the quarterfinals of the World Baseball Classic.
They are in complete control of their own destiny without having to worry about any break breaking, running differentials or taking action.
Beat Colombia, and they are there.
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It might have been different had Great Britain not shocked Colombia earlier in the day, averting the possibility of Team USA having to knock Colombia by more than seven runs Wednesday, but for now, all they have to do is win.
“We’re definitely in control,” said US Captain Mike Trott. “Obviously when Great Britain won earlier it helped us a bit. But we knew after losing [to Mexico]We had to win, and see what happens. ”
They showed up on Monday relaxed and confident and immediately went out and took out all their pent-up frustrations in Canada, while DeRosa could just sit back and watch.
“We came in with a little swagger,” said Trott, whose three-run homer in the first inning opened the game. “I suspect [the Mexico defeat] It woke us up a bit. The message for us was to get out there and have a blast, just be ourselves. ”
On this night, there was no need for DeRosa to watch his crew blow up before his eyes, and helpless to do anything about it, as veteran pitcher Lance Lynn gave up just two hits in five dominant innings.
“What Lance did tonight was huge,” DeRosa said. “Huge for us to kind of do a database reset. It went perfectly.”
You don’t have to worry about what relievers can serve several rounds, counter that many hits, or how many pitches you need to use just one reliever on Miles Mikulas.
DeRosa just sat back, watched his team put on a laser show, jumped 9-0 in the first half off 19-year-old Canadian rookie Mitch Pratt, and never looked back.
“I think for the first couple of games we were just trying to feel ourselves,” Trott said. “But today we just came in with the mentality that we are going to dominate.”
The game lasted only two hours and twenty minutes, as the mercy rule was applied in the seventh inning.
Really, it was just as DeRosa wrote the game.
“She starts and starts on the mound,” DeRosa said before the game. “It always is. It sets the tone. I just want to top the list with the chance this offense kind of explodes. I think they’re ready for that. I really am.”
Lynn led in the first inning 1-2-3 and the lineup responded by going: single, walk, walk, double, sacrifice fly, walk, run scored single, groundout, run scored triple and three runs.
It was a pure offense, showing the baseball world just how dangerous their lineup could be, producing two doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 22 total bases.
“You were supposed to come out and dominate,” said USA player Tim Anderson. “That’s what we did all the way through the line-up. Being in a line-up with a lot of guys, you don’t have to do a lot. The whole point is just to pass the baton.
And we kept pouring it on them. ”
Everyone in the starting lineup, except for outfielder Kyle Tucker, has hit at least one hit, led by Anderson and catcher JT Realmoto.
Everyone in the lineup led at least one drive but Mookie Betts, led by Trout’s three RBI.
Everyone is in the lineup, but Tucker and Realmuto have scored at least one run, and five players have scored two runs.
Team USA will have one day off on Tuesday and another on Thursday if they advance to the Quarterfinals.
Certainly, the United States has flaws, which were revealed in their ugly loss to Mexico. They do not have any Cy Young winners on their staff. And they could enter the quarter-finals facing aces like Yu Darvish or Yoshinobu Yamamoto from Japan, even if Shuhei Ohtani is skipped; Sandy Alcantara from the Dominican Republic; Julio Ureas from Mexico or Marcus Stroman from Puerto Rico.
There’s a reason the United States aren’t the favorites to win the tournament, but after their defeat on Monday, they regained their confidence.
Who knows, they might even find another second baseman in the process? Anderson Chicago White SoxAn All-Star shortstop, he played second base for the first time in his professional career, and looked like he had played there his whole life.
“He wants the moment, he has the edge on him,” DeRosa said.
Anderson went 2-for-3 with a triple, an RBI, two runs scored, a walk and a flawless defense.
Anderson said, “I’m always working out to prove something, just to be among some of the greats. I just get a chance for the world to see what kind of athlete I am.”
Sure, the White Sox have known his talent for a long time, but now that he’s world class, everyone sees him as among the greatest in the game.
White Sox teammate Lynn says, “Over your career, 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 anyone on the hill ever intimidated him.”
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Now, with the USA dominating the way they’ve expected it all along, the entire team is echoing the same sentiment.
Their chartered team flight is scheduled for Thursday morning from Phoenix to Miami.
they intend to be on it.
They may have promotion restrictions, individual club demands, or personal requests, but they simply have too much talent to go home early.
“We’ll find out,” DeRosa says. “It has to change. And no doubt it will when we get on that plane to Miami.”
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