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U.S. Stumbles out of WBC; Blame the Outfielders?

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by user ASwaff

Well, the USA stumbled out of the World Baseball Classic tonight by losing to Mexico. Not that many expected them to win the whole thing anyway, especially once the world got to see just how Korea plays. But, I want to go back to my pre-tournament complaints - the outfield.

Before the tournament started, I wondered if the likes of Winn, Holliday, Wells and Francoeur could really be the best the USA has to offer. I think that the performance of our outfielders verified my complaints.

The infield could have been better, but they generally performed. Mark Teixeira excepted. And the pitching was great. Dontrelle Willis excepted. But the outfield was absolutely dreadful.

Overall, the outfielders actually presented relatively decent numbers. They batted .306, and combined for 11 RBI and 11 runs. Of course, they also stranded 26 runners. But the real key is taking Ken Griffey, Jr., out of the mix. He had a great tournament. Take his stats out, and check out how the remaining outfielders performed:

.195 batting average, 6 K, 1 RBI, 7 runs, 17 LOB, 6 BB.

The RBI category really jumps out at you. Francoeur, Damon, Winn, Holliday and Wells combined for 1 RBI? No wonder we couldn't beat Canada or Mexico!

Obviously, we missed out on Berkman and Bonds for health reasons. With Bonds, I put "health reasons" in quotes, but I'll save that argument for a different time. But, even losing those two for legitimate reasons, but aside from that, was this really the best outfield we could have put out there? Are all of our good outfielders really from other countries?

I would like to hear what the rest of you have to think. I sincerely believe that our lack of a good outfield was a big reason that we lost the WBC. That was one thing really within the grasp of US managers to change. The biggest reason was our obvious lack of fire. Just as with the Olympic basketball team, the inability to convince our best players that this is something that would be worth their time was flat-out depressing. But, that's a cultural thing the managers could control.

So, what could they have done differently? What outfielders would you have liked to see on the team?


Fri 03/17/06, 1:36 am EST

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