Well, what do you know? His not - Al Bello
This game was a nail-biter, worth every moment of the nine innings, as a Captain America-less USA team falls to the Dominican Republic on the strength of a ninth-inning Erick Aybar at-bat.
Well, how big of a difference does David Wright mean to Team USA? Basically, the difference in the game, as the USA couldn't manage anything against a bevy of Dominican pitchers. Oh, I'm sorry. They had a bases-loaded walk in the first inning. Yes, the extent of all offense in today's game was a walk. In the first inning.
Wright is scheduled to see the Mets' training staff tomorrow to evaluate his sore back, and has already been ruled out to play in tomorrow's sudden-death contest against Puerto Rico. The US now has its back against the wall, and sure could use a replacement superhero.
Meanwhile, R.A. Dickey was nearly perfect in his five inning, scattering five hits and one walk against four strikeouts. His lone run came off the bat of Hanley Ramirez in the second to tie the game. Gregerson pitched the sixth, Collins two-thirds, Cishek finished the seventh and all of the eighth, and it was looking good for the USA in a tie game in the ninth with Craig Kimbrel on the mound. But in a ridiculously out-of-character performance (for the sake of comparison, last season, he had more games where he struck out multiple batters than games in which he allowed a single hit), Kimbrel allowed a leadoff double to Nelson Cruz. This was followed by an amazing at-bat by Carlos Santana to move the runner to third, and after the worst strike call in the history of the WBC, Erick Aybar managed to scrape a single off Kimbrel to give the Dominicans a 2-1 lead. He stole second, and was driven in by Jose Reyes; an insurance run they wouldn't need.
Fernando Rodney slammed the door on three USA batters, and just like that; the US must play Puerto Rico tomorrow to decide the final team advancing to the semi-finals.
We'll do it again tomorrow; first the A's, then the USA.
We'll see you back here for all of the action!