WBC Five Cuts: Competing interests completely blow up on Team USA
Puerto Rico hammered Peavy for six runs in two innings, and though Puerto Rico won by way of the mercy rule, 11-1, the game really was over when Peavy was permitted to absorb such a pounding. Peavy never could get the ball down in the strike zone. Eight of the first 14 batters against him reached base. It was downright ugly. A Cuban starting pitcher, for instance, would have been yanked in the first inning with that kind of stuff.
And yet U.S. manager
"Yeah, we had a lot of one-inning pitchers out there. Just basically let him get a little more work. Unfortunately, it wasn't really great work, but he still needed the work. Like I said, it's double elimination. It wasn't a thing where it was ... hook him in the second inning. Just let him get his work in."
Just let him get his work in? Ugh. The United States is trying to serve two masters: sell meaningful competition but also make sure millionaire players get their work in. It was one of those awkward nights when the competing interests blew up on the Americans.
Maybe it is a moot point. The game was a lost cause, anyway. Maybe you bring the outfield in to try to cut down the winning run. Maybe Dunn plays the ball more aggressively. Maybe Johnson walks Aviles to set up a better matchup with force plays in order. But is it too much to ask to expect the players to actually know the rules of the tournament? It was eerily reminiscient of the 2006 WBC when the players had no idea of the tie-breaker rules.
"When you put this uniform on," DeRosa said, "you don't ever expect that you could be a part of [the mercy rule]. But being down 6-0 against a big league pitching staff, that's pretty stiff."
Said Dunn, "The word that comes to mind is embarrassing. It's inexcusable and uncalled for. It's embarrassing."
"Yeah, I was able to see that nobody was out," Englehardt said. "Maybe the coach needs to stop the guy on third base. After the game you think about it, and you say that it was one [turning] point."
And here is Englehardt on what the difference between playing against the Dominican Republic and Venezuela: "Venezuela plays more like a team, and Dominican plays more individuals."