David Wright Bails Out Derek Jeter At WBC

There will still be those who say that David Wright can't hit in the clutch. They'll take a look at his two-run single in the bottom of the ninth of a World Baseball Classic elimination game and shrug. It doesn't even mean as much as an April game against the Nationals, they'll sniff, ignoring the dogpile that greeted Wright from a bunch of millionaires who certainly seemed to care a little bit about the outcome.

Wright's detractors aren't swayed by the statistical evidence that disputes their notion so they won't be swayed by a dramatic ninth inning comeback. A better question might be if those who cling to their belief that Derek Jeter's a peachy keen shortstop will rethink things in light of his play on Tuesday night.

In the sixth inning, with the score tied at 3, Alexis Rios bounced a grounder up the middle with Ivan Rodriguez on second and Jeter ranged to his left and dove. The ball went through unscathed and the U.S. fell behind. 

In the top of the ninth inning, Rios was on second when Ramon Vazquez hit pretty much the same ball. Again Jeter went for the ball, again he dove and again the Puerto Rican player scored. He got his glove on the ball this time, but not enough to keep the ball in front of him. Jimmy Rollins, the other U.S. shortstop was playing DH for those who are curious, may not have turned the balls into outs, but he probably keeps Puerto Rico from scoring on that play.

Davey Johnson's decision to deploy his team in that manner gives fodder to anyone who thinks the WBC is a meaningless exercise. No matter how much the team celebrated, playing a team that gives you a worse chance of winning is a pretty clear sign that you don't care about winning.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us