Skip to content

Overcoming Torre is Team USA’s biggest win yet

Mar 10, 2013, 7:57 PM EDT

Joe Torre Getty Images

Four sacrifice bunt attempts in one game.

I’d be pretty disgusted if it were the Marlins trying such a thing to beat the Mets in mid-August. But, no, that’s what Team USA did on Sunday on its way to topping Canada 9-4.

Technically, it will go into the books at three sacrifice bunt attempts, since Shane Victorino merely fouled back his one attempt before later striking out in the seventh. The first two were successful, the second especially so. The first, coming in the second, was put down by Adam Jones with two on and none out. No runs followed, though. Ben Zobrist‘s bunt in the fourth resulted in a Taylor Green error, scoring a run and opening the door for a two-run inning.

The last bunt was a huge flop, with Zobrist popping one up for the first out in the eighth. Fortunately, Jones bailed the team out afterwards, delivering a two-run double to put Team USA on top for good.

So, yes, everything worked out in the end. Even though Joe Torre’s team tried to give away four outs. Even though Giancarlo Stanton, the country’s (and maybe the world’s) best power hitter, sat out in favor of Shane Victorino. Even though Torre was more worried about making sure everyone got into the game than trying to win it.

And that last part may be the biggest problem of all. Joe Torre works for Major League Baseball. He made commitments to teams in return for acquiring the services of players. While the managers of Japan and the Dominican Republic are doing the best they can, within the WBC’s pitcher usage rules, to win their games, Torre is going above and beyond; making sure everyone gets a turn, not using a reliever after he’s already warmed up once and not letting any of his true relievers pitch more than an inning.

Of course, Torre isn’t exactly a tactical genius even when he doesn’t have to deal with such limitations. Witness today’s eighth-inning gem to intentionally walk light-hitting left-hander Pete Orr in a 5-4 game to load the bases for a left-handed-hitting pinch-hitter. Given that it meant a walk could force in a run, I doubt it improved the U.S.’s chances of staying ahead in the eighth. What it definitely did do is guarantee that Joey Votto would bat in the ninth, with Justin Morneau due up fourth, something that might have made a big difference had the U.S. offense not finally found itself and, absent any sac bunt attempts, piled on four runs in the top of the inning.

At age 73, this is probably Torre’s last time in a dugout. He was pretty close to a Hall of Famer as a player and he’s certainly going in as a manager after all of his success with the Yankees. And deservedly so. It’d be a nice victory lap for him if Team USA could somehow win the World Baseball Classic in its third try. Torre, though, needs to back off a bit, because he’s really hurting the cause right now.

Latest Posts
  1. Hisashi Iwakuma has a Grade 1 lat strain, will miss 2-4 weeks

    Apr 25, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Hisashi Iwakuma Hisashi Iwakuma

    Hisashi Iwakuma could miss up to a month after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain of his right lat muscle.

  2. Alex Rodriguez was impressed by Matt Harvey in Saturday’s loss

    Apr 25, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez Getty Images

    Alex Rodriguez is one of many major leaguers Matt Harvey has impressed.

  3. Adrian Beltre sent Garrett Richards an invoice for three broken bats

    Apr 25, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Adrian Beltre Getty Images

    Adrian Beltre humorously sent an invoice to Garrett Richards for the three bats he broke on Friday.

  4. Play of the Day: Freddy Galvis makes superb diving grab and throw for the out

    Apr 25, 2015, 8:52 PM EDT

    Freddy Galvis Freddy Galvis

    Freddy Galvis threw his hat into the ring as an early contender for Play of the Year.

  5. Adam Wainwright exits Saturday’s start with an apparent Achilles injury

    Apr 25, 2015, 8:37 PM EDT

    Adam Wainwright Adam Wainwright

    Adam Wainwright suffered an apparent Achilles injury after hitting a pop-up in Saturday’s game against the Brewers.

  6. Joel Peralta dealing with a “dead arm”, could go on the disabled list

    Apr 25, 2015, 8:05 PM EDT

    Joel Peralta Getty Images

    The Dodgers’ thin bullpen could get even thinner if Joel Peralta needs to go on the disabled list.

  7. Rays designate Allan Dykstra for assignment

    Apr 25, 2015, 7:10 PM EDT

    Allan Dykstra Allan Dykstra

    The Rays designated slugger Allan Dykstra for assignment to make room for Everett Teaford on Saturday.

  8. Video: Kevin Plawecki connects for his first major league home run

    Apr 25, 2015, 6:15 PM EDT

    Kevin Plawecki Getty Images

    Watch Kevin Plawecki swat his first major league homer.

  9. Jose Fernandez ready to face hitters for first time since Tommy John surgery

    Apr 25, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    Jose+Fernandez+Miami+Marlins+v+San+Diego+Padres+x1Pnh0XpK7ol Getty Images

    The Marlins have stumbled out of the gate with a disappointing 6-11 record, but they entered play today on a three-game win streak and here’s some good news about their rehabbing ace.

  10. Former Cubs catcher, Expos manager Jim Fanning dies at 87

    Apr 25, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    jim fanning

    Fanning was involved in baseball for more than 60 years.

  11. Blue Jays release left-hander Ricky Romero

    Apr 25, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT

    ricky romero jays getty Getty Images

    It looked like the Blue Jays had one of the best young left-handed pitchers in the game after Romero compiled a 3.60 (119 ERA+) across his first three seasons in the majors, but his career veered off track after 2011 due to control problems and knee issues.

  12. Matt Albers headed to DL with finger injury suffered in benches-clearing brawl

    Apr 25, 2015, 3:05 PM EDT

    Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers Getty Images

    Albers suffered a compression fracture of a finger on his throwing hand during Thursday’s brawl.

  13. Report: Rangers will pay Josh Hamilton less than $7 million; deal includes opt-out after two years

    Apr 25, 2015, 2:16 PM EDT

    josh hamilton angels getty Getty Images

    The Rangers will reportedly only be responsible for less than $7 million of Hamilton’s remaining contract.

  14. Anthony Rendon begins minor league rehab assignment

    Apr 25, 2015, 1:58 PM EDT

    anthony rendon getty Getty Images

    Anthony Rendon suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee in early March, but he’s finally close to joining the Nationals.

  15. Trevor Bauer scratched from start due to illness

    Apr 25, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Trevor Bauer AP

    TJ House will start in his place against Detroit.

  16. Suspensions announced for Thursday’s brawl between the White Sox and Royals

    Apr 25, 2015, 12:24 PM EDT

    Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox Getty Images

    Six players were suspended for Thursday’s benches-clearing brawl between the White Sox and Royals. Yordano Ventura got the longest suspension with seven games.

  17. Video: Nelson Cruz hits 459-foot blast for MLB-leading ninth home run

    Apr 25, 2015, 12:01 PM EDT

    Minnesota Twins v Seattle Mariners Getty Images

    Nelson Cruz just keeps on mashing for the Mariners.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (4064)
  2. A. Russell (3668)
  3. D. Smyly (3402)
  4. D. Travis (3332)
  5. B. Zobrist (3197)
  1. D. Mesoraco (2957)
  2. M. Saunders (2823)
  3. M. Wieters (2788)
  4. J. Bautista (2651)
  5. Y. Puig (2651)