We’re going to take a break from talking about the Mets here (OK, too late) and throw in some WBC thoughts. I didn’t watch a lot of the games, but I did follow along, so I’m just going to go to bullet points here.
- I love Davey Johnson. That out of the way, the WBC won’t go down as his finest hour. How was Jimmy Rollins, perhaps the best defensive infielder on the entire USA roster, DHing last night? How was Adam Dunn, perhaps the worst defensive player in the entire tournament, playing LF? How was Mark DeRosa the first baseman? Last night’s lineup made absolutely no sense. Put Granderson, Victorino, and Braun in the outfield, Dunn as the DH, and figure something out at first base (Jeter? I mean, why not, it’s not like DeRosa has played there with any regularity) and you’re using your available pieces in the best possible way.
- Of course, Team USA should have made a decision on Jeter vs. Rollins well before last night, and it should have been Rollins. By having both shortstops on the roster, it guaranteed that this would remain an issue for the duration of the tournament. This team did not need two shortstops, and Rollins today is a far better player than Jeter. It seemed the only reason Jeter was there is because the selection committee didn’t want to tell him no. Look, Jeter was a great player, and is a future first ballot Hall of Famer, but there is no reason he should have been playing the field over Jimmy Rollins last night.
- Roy Oswalt stinks. The Astros have some serious stink potential this season, whatever the over/under is on their number of wins in Vegas, bet heavy on the under. Is there a single decent player on that team outside of Berkman and Lee and maybe Oswalt?
- I hate to play the “they wanted it more” card here, but I did get the feeling (and perhaps incorrectly) that Japan was way more geeked up for this game than the US. The US players seemed to play at spring training speed, but the Japanese were playing at midseason speed. That said, the US still could have won this game had it not been for some costly errors (one of which likely would not have been made with Rollins in the game, and damn you Davey Johnson for making me DEFEND that man!).
- The best idea I’ve read for “fixing” the WBC I read over at Fangraphs a few days ago. A single elimination tournament during All Star week makes so much more sense. You don’t have to worry about pitch counts, you don’t have to worry about rusty looking players, you don’t have to worry about blowing out starter’s arms (since they’d only pitch once), the All Star game is largely meaningless anyway, and being single elimination doesn’t make the tournament any less of a crapshoot than it already is. The only issue is taking a weekend of games in mid-July out of ownership’s pockets, but I’m sure brighter minds than mine can figure out a way to make that up to the owners.
That’s all I have for right now. Feel free to leave your random WBC comments below. And on a programming note, you will actually receive some updates later this week, as I’m packing up and traveling to Florida for a few days for some spring training baseball, and I will make sure to leave my thoughts and pictures for you right here on this site, so please check back on Thursday for that!