With Friday night’s disappointing 4-3 loss to Puerto Rico in the books, Team USA has fallen short of reaching the World Baseball Classic finals for the third time in as many tournaments.
I guess disappointing would actually be an understatement considering how positive things were looking on Tuesday after the American squad knocked off the same Puerto Rico team 7-1 at Marlins Ballpark in Miami. But that all unraveled quickly and violently over the past 30 or so hours beginning with the news that their hottest hitter, David Wright, would be sidelined the remainder of the tournament with a moderate intercostal strain.
Then came a dramatic 3-1 loss to the Dominican Republic in which the always reliable Craig Kimbrel faltered in the ninth inning, allowing the game to slip away. But there were certainly other opportunities for the USA to turn their fortunes around. In fact, the frustrations began right away in the first inning when they plated only one run against a scuffling Samuel Deduno.
Still, despite that loss, despite the fact they were playing with a roster that had far less firepower than they were capable of fielding, and despite the fact that Joe Torre managed the tournament like a guy who’s never attended a baseball game, let alone managed the New York Yankees to four world championships, all they had to do on Friday night was win. And they failed. For several reasons, too. But I’ve narrowed it down to the four that really stand out and help explain why we won’t be seeing them in San Francisco.
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