Tag: Pete Orr

Joe Torre

Overcoming Torre is Team USA’s biggest win yet


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.

Giancarlo Stanton not in Team USA’s starting lineup for Sunday’s must-win game vs. Canada

stanton getty


Below are the starting lineups for this evening’s World Baseball Classic game between Team USA and Team Canada. First pitch is scheduled for just after 4:00 p.m. ET. It will be broadcast on MLB Network.

     TEAM USA                    TEAM CANADA
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS            1. Tyson Gillies, CF
2. Brandon Phillips, 2B        2. Taylor Green, 3B
3. Ryan Braun, DH               3. Joey Votto, 1B
4. Joe Mauer, C                 4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. David Wright, 3B             5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Ben Zobrist, RF              6. Chris Robinson, C
7. Adam Jones, CF               7. Adam Loewen, LF
8. Eric Hosmer, 1B              8. Pete Orr, 2B
9. Shane Victorino, LF          9. Cale Iorg, SS

SP Derek Holland, LH            SP Jameson Taillon, RH

Team USA manager Joe Torre is sitting Giancarlo Stanton, who doesn’t have a hit yet in the 2013 WBC but is obviously one of the premier sluggers in the sport. Zobrist will start in right field in Stanton’s place.

Team Canada is using the same lineup that nailed down a 10-3 win over Mexico on Saturday afternoon.

The winning country will advance out of Pool D along with Team Italy. The loser goes … back to camp.

Canada and Mexico brawl figuratively and literally; Canada wins

Canada v Mexico - World Baseball Classic - First Round Group D

Canada kept its second round World Baseball Classic hopes alive with an emphatic 10-3 victory over Mexico today. Coming off an eight-inning 14-4 defeat at the hands of Italy, a game that was called early due to the mercy rule, Canada bounced back with impressive hitting performances by designated hitter Justin Morneau and right fielder Michael Saunders as both logged four hits (including two doubles apiece) and three runs batted in. Third baseman Taylor Green also contributed greatly with three hits and a walk. Starter Chris Leroux was solid over three innings of work before giving way to the bullpen.

The scoring started in the top of the first when Canada tossed up a four-spot behind a Morneau RBI double, a Saunders two-run single, and an RBI single by Chris Robinson. Mexico starter Marco Estrada settled down, though, holding Canada scoreless in his other two innings while his team chipped away. Mexico scored once in the bottom of the first on an error by first baseman Joey Votto, then added two more in the bottom of the fourth on a Gil Velasquez RBI double and Eduardo Arredondo sacrifice fly. Cesar Ramos, in relief of Estrada, pitched well but began to wear down in his third inning of work. In the top of the sixth, Canada added an insurance run on a Pete Orr RBI single to right.

From there, the flood gates opened and Mexico’s bullpen was unable to keep the game close. Canada added two runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Morneau drove in a run with another double, then scored later in the inning on a Jimmy Van Ostrand RBI ground out. In the eighth, Morneau singled to right, driving in his third run. Saunders then singled to right, driving in Canada’s ninth run.

Tensions began to flare in the top of the ninth. Leading off the inning, Canada’s Chris Robinson bunted for a hit with his team up by six runs. Reliever Arnold Leon, none too pleased, hit the next batter Rene Tosoni with a fastball, causing both benches to clear. ESPN’s Jim Caple said, “This was not a stand around and look tough fight. There were many punches thrown.”

A Twitter recap of the fracas:

Leon and Tosoni were ejected by home plate umpire Brian Gorman. Jose Cobos came in relief of Leon while Tim Smith replaced Tosoni at first base. During the next at-bat involving Cale Iorg, more chaos ensued:

Iorg ended the at-bat at long last with a fly ball to left field, scoring Robinson for Canada’s tenth run. Tyson Gillies and Green went down in short order to end the inning. John Axford entered the bottom-half of the ninth for the save, shutting down Mexico with a 1-2-3 inning.

Canada, now 1-1, kept their own hopes alive as well as those of the United States. The US and Italy square off at 9 PM ET. Pool D then wraps up Sunday afternoon at 4 PM ET when Canada and the US match up. Mexico will be rooting for Italy against the US, then for the US against Canada, hoping for a three-way tie in which all three teams are 1-2. In such an event, run differential would be used in the tie-breaker. Presently, the US and Canada are tied in run differential at -3 while Mexico lags at -5.

As a side note, the use of run differential in the tie-breaker means that Mexico has no “unwritten rules” ground upon which to stand after taking offense to Robinson’s ninth-inning bunt.

Roy Halladay exits after two innings with sore shoulder

Roy Halladay

It’s panic time in Philadelphia: Roy Halladay was forced from his start Sunday against the Cardinals after two innings due to a sore shoulder.

Halladay gave up a grand slam to Yadier Molina in the first inning of the contest. He rebounded to work a perfect second inning, but Pete Orr was sent up to pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the inning. St. Louis went on to win the game 8-3.

The Phillies said removing Halladay was a precautionary measure. He’ll be re-evaluated in the next couple of days. No MRI is planned, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.

If Halladay lands on the DL, it’d be his first trip there as a member of the Phillies. He spent 16 days on the DL with the Blue Jays in 2009 due to a groin strain. The last time he went on the DL with an arm problem was 2004, when he missed two months with a shoulder strain.

Halladay was coming off a loss to Washington in which he gave up five runs in six innings. Including the slam today, he’s given up five homers in his last three starts, covering 16 innings. Last year, he surrendered a total of 10 homers in 233 2/3 innings. Given his diminished velocity and occasionally diminished movement, it’d come as no surprise to learn that his shoulder has been barking for a while now.

Looking at MLB’s least productive positions to date

Xavier Nady

Nationals left fielders, “led” by Xavier Nady, have amassed an MLB-low .406 OPS in 101 at-bats to date, hitting just .119 with no homers and six RBI.

Here’s the list of the worst OPSs by team and position so far, along with the player most responsible for the poor showing.

LF Nationals – .406 (.119/.237/.168) – Nady
3B Athletics – .424 (.133/.186/.238) – Josh Donaldson
3B White Sox – .435 (.178/.217/.218) – Brent Morel
2B Tigers – .436 (.148/.208/.227) – Ryan Raburn
SS Padres – .439 (.138/.248/.191) – Jason Bartlett
CF Cubs – .469 (.183/.248/.221) – Marlon Byrd
C Pirates – .473 (.156/.240/.233) – Rod Barajas
SS White Sox – .476 (.196/.217/.259) – Alexei Ramirez
1B Indians – .484 (.150/.234/.250) – Casey Kotchman
RF Twins – .492 (.156/.221/.271) – Clete Thomas
2B Athletics – .493 (/165/.229/.264) – Jemile Weeks
DH Tigers – .497 (.183/.218/.279) – Delmon Young
1B Mets – .503 (.182/.231/.273) – Ike Davis
DH Mariners – .504 (.184/.223/.281) – Jesus Montero
SS Angels – .506 (.211/.259/.248) – Erick Aybar
SS Pirates – .507 (.172/.204/.303) – Clint Barmes
SS Phillies – .516 (.214/.268/.248) – Jimmy Rollins
3B Twins – .515 (.198/.219/.297) – Danny Valencia
2B Giants – .520 (.235/.275/.245) – Ryan Theriot
SS Mariners – .525 (.174/.275/.250) – Brendan Ryan
2B Twins – .532 (.228/.260/.272) – Alexi Casilla
C Padres – .538 (.171/.252/.286) – Nick Hundley
C Athletics – .540 (.217/.257/.283) – Kurt Suzuki
CF Brewers – .540 (.205/.246/.295) – Nyjer Morgan
SS Twins – .542 (.208/.304/.238) – Jamey Carroll

– It’s pretty hard to believe, but in Chase Utley’s absence, Phillies second basemen have still outproduced the shortstops and third basemen. That’s because Pete Orr has been a nice surprise with a .714 OPS in nine games. Freddy Galvis has a .571 OPS in 26 games at second base.

– The Pirates’ big winter signings both appear on the list, as Barajas and Barmes have really brought the offense down. They were picked up more for their gloves, of course, but they’ve made it really tough for the Pirates to get anything going towards the bottom of their lineup.

– If I had a better feeling who to blame among Ron Gardenhire and Terry Ryan for the Twins’ right field mess, I would have listed him instead of Thomas. Minnesota’s original plan was to play Josh Willingham in right and Ben Revere in left, but Willingham was moved to left late in the spring and right field has been a disaster area since. Revere wouldn’t have been anything special either, but he almost surely would have been better than this.