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. Rangers acquire left-hander Sam Freeman from Cardinals

    Mar 28, 2015, 2:51 PM EDT

    Sam Freeman Getty Getty Images

    Freeman owns a 3.33 ERA with a 61/34 K/BB ratio over 70 1/3 innings in the majors.

  2. J.J. Hardy to undergo MRA on ailing shoulder

    Mar 28, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

    St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

    The Orioles will already be without Matt Wieters on Opening Day as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery and now suddenly J.J. Hardy’s status is also in question.

  3. Angels release veteran reliever Matt Lindstrom

    Mar 28, 2015, 1:32 PM EDT

    Matt Lindstrom Getty Getty Images

    Lindstrom, who was in camp this spring on a minor league contract, posted an ugly 11.12 ERA and 5/4 K/BB ratio over 5 2/3 innings during Cactus League action.

  4. Twins prospect Lewis Thorpe to undergo Tommy John surgery

    Mar 28, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT

    Twins logo

    Thorpe, 19, owns a 2.80 ERA and 179/54 K/BB ratio over his first 157 2/3 innings in pro ball.

  5. Video: Yordano Ventura throws seven no-hit innings in Cactus League start

    Mar 28, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Yordano Ventura AP AP

    Yordano Ventura was recently named as the Royals’ Opening Day starter and he had a heck of a tuneup in his latest Cactus League outing last night.

  6. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos watched Jonathan Papelbon pitch Friday

    Mar 28, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT

    Jonathan Papelbon Jonathan Papelbon

    Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon said last month that he would be interested in a trade to the Blue Jays and it appears that the possibility might still have some legs.

  7. Mike Pelfrey not happy about move to bullpen

    Mar 28, 2015, 10:11 AM EDT

    Mike Pelfrey AP AP

    Pelfrey owns an ugly 5.56 ERA in 34 starts dating back to 2013.

  8. Christian Vazquez says he’s nervous about his elbow

    Mar 28, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT

    25b0e49ab484f722bc9e41439c67a5e8 Getty Images

    An MRI showed “something” in Christian Vazquez’s right elbow.

  9. Carlos Gonzalez exits game with soreness in surgically-repaired knee

    Mar 28, 2015, 8:57 AM EDT

    Colorado Rockies Photo Day Getty Images

    This isn’t what you want to hear with the start of the season just one week away.

  10. Marcus Stroman to complete his college degree while he rehabs

    Mar 27, 2015, 11:55 PM EDT

    Marcus Stroman Marcus Stroman

    Marcus Stroman will be a proud college graduate the next time he takes the mound for the Blue Jays.

  11. Daniel Murphy likely to begin the season on the disabled list

    Mar 27, 2015, 11:05 PM EDT

    Daniel Murphy Daniel Murphy

    The Mets are likely to open the regular season without Daniel Murphy at second base.

  12. Alex Rios will deal with a thumb issue throughout the season

    Mar 27, 2015, 10:15 PM EDT

    Alex Rios Alex Rios

    Alex Rios says he’ll have to manage his thumb injury throughout the duration of the 2015 season.

  13. Party like it’s 2011: Watch Jeff Francoeur throw out Alex Rodriguez at home plate

    Mar 27, 2015, 9:25 PM EDT

    Jeff Francoeur Getty Images

    Jeff Francoeur threw out Alex Rodriguez at the plate. It’s 2015, not 2011.

  14. Twins have inquired about watching Rafael Soriano throw

    Mar 27, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Rafael Soriano Rafael Soriano

    The Twins reportedly have a bit of interest in free agent reliever Rafael Soriano.

  15. Domonic Brown unlikely to be ready for Opening Day

    Mar 27, 2015, 7:45 PM EDT

    Domonic Brown AP

    Domonic Brown is battling an Achilles injury, leaving him unlikely to play on Opening Day.

  16. Dodgers to shut Brandon League down for three weeks

    Mar 27, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT

    Brandon League Getty Images

    Brandon League isn’t likely to pitch for a couple of months according to manager Don Mattingly.

  17. Jordan Zimmermann on extension with Nationals: “It’s not looking good.”

    Mar 27, 2015, 6:05 PM EDT

    Jordan Zimmermann Jordan Zimmermann

    It doesn’t seem like the Nationals and Jordan Zimmermann will reach an agreement on a contract extension before the regular season begins.

  18. White Sox claim Kyle Drabek off waivers from Blue Jays

    Mar 27, 2015, 4:40 PM EDT

    Kyle Drabek Getty Images

    Drabek was once a top prospect and the Blue Jays acquired him from the Phillies in the Roy Halladay trade.

  19. Mariners pitcher David Rollins suspended 80 games for PEDs

    Mar 27, 2015, 4:13 PM EDT

    David Rollins Getty Images

    The Rule 5 pick had a decent shot of making the Mariners’ pen out of camp.

  20. 2015 Preview: Chicago White Sox

    Mar 27, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT

    Jose Abreu AP

    Should we be taking the rebuilt White Sox seriously as contenders?

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Olivera (3832)
  2. J. Fernandez (3801)
  3. K. Bryant (3483)
  4. H. Ryu (3451)
  5. S. Doolittle (3433)
  1. A. Cobb (3331)
  2. J. Kipnis (3295)
  3. A. Rendon (3256)
  4. G. Richards (3256)
  5. C. Rodon (3252)