Team Canada Post Mortem
Well Pitch f/x is back, just as team Canada is gone. And we didn’t even get a sneak peek at Scott Richmond, because they needed to save his massive talent for the crucial qualifying game against Venezuela…wait, why is anyone shocked Italy won again?
This was an absolutely dreadful night at the plate for team Canada. Jason Grilli is a completely legitimate major leaguer, but for the first six innings everyone on team Canada except Morneau (who had more hits – 4 – that the rest of the club) looked completely lost at the plate against a couple of soft-tossing lefties. I was sitting pretty close to the side of the plate and it looked like they were getting strikes called on pitches below the knees and then swinging over offspeed stuff. That would be completely wrong – although the strike zone did extend about 5-6 inches off the plate when Canada was at the plate:
And no, the favour was not returned when they were on the mound by home plate Marvin Hudson (who, incidentally, recently founded a non-profit organization for kids with “fellow umpire Mike DiMuro” — I smell scandal!!), so I feel completely vindicated in yelling “C’MON, BLUE” at every available opportunity, despite doing it for all the wrong reasons. The throwing of the pocket change might have been a little much.
It doesn’t take much to see why Italy had a good day at the plate – Canada’s pitchers couldn’t quite find the bottom of the strike zone and ended up leaving pitches up to be mashed, or not particulary close to the plate. It was a sign of things to come when Perkins got the first out quickly in the second and then jumped out ahead 0-2 on their 9th batter, Chiarini (a 19-year-old who has never played above rookie ball), only to end up walking him (he would later score).
As for Canada’s pitch selection, hey – I wasn’t completely out to lunch. Almost all the called strikes against them came on fastballs (you know, the ones far enough away that no lefty in the world is going to be able to hit them off another lefty), and then they swung through a variety of breaking pitches:
If you’d like to dig even deeper into this monstrosity of a game, check out Brooks Baseball and the pitch f/x tool, which is up and running for the WBC.