Mexico out-hits, out-pitches USA in WBC opening-game disappointment

hitter you’ll ever see, hit two balls to the warning track with men on base.

This was supposed to be cake, or close to it./a>

Team USA hitters looked limp, its pitchers over-matched.

“It’s really no secret. They pitched better, they hit better,’ Wright said. “They outplayed us in every area of the game.’

Mexico was quite impressive, give them that.

Scouts have been impressed all along by Mexico’s array of arms, and the early starting combo of Yovani Gallardo and Luis Mendoza did not disappoint. But this isn’t a lineup exactly stacked with major-league stars, save for Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who hit a two-run bomb off R.A. Dickey to highlight a solid attack.

Even with A-Gon batting cleanup for Mexico, no paper Team USA looks like it should overwhelm Mexico. But USA officials were privately fretting that most of the very best American pitchers stayed home for a variety of reasons.

Dickey, the 2012 National League Cy Young winner, was supposed to give Team USA a Game 1 advantage, at least. But Dickey was hit hard, allowing four runs in four innings, as the fast knuckleball that’s supposed to be at its best indoors (Chase Field’s roof was closed because of rain) was no mystery to Mexico’s hitters.

“It’s sad,” Dickey said. “You are given the opportunity, and you feel like you’ve blown the opportunity.’

Dickey got hammered, giving up a series of hard-hit balls, none harder than Gonzalez’s two-run bomb that slammed off a wall just a couple inches to the right (the home-run side, as designated by a yellow line) in right-center field. The ball, originally called a homer, was reviewed at the request of USA manager Joe Torre, but that just became another loss for USA.

Gonzalez is understandable, but Dickey gave up hits to a lot of guys you wouldn’t expect could touch him, including journeyman utilityman Ramiro Pena, ex-big-leaguer Karim Garcia and the currently out-of-work Jorge Cantu. Just about everyone in the Mexico lineup hit a ball hard, or two maybe.

Leadoff man Eduardo Arredondo played a brilliant game. Sporting an Ichiro hitting style and a .400-plus on-base percentage in the Mexican League, he had three hits. He also ran down a long drive by Braun in right-center.

“A lot of those guys have professional experience,’ Dickey said in answer to a question about how most of the Mexico lineup isn’t in the big leagues. “It’s a good team. If you don’t execute at this level, you’re going to get beat. And we didn’t execute.’

Meanwhile, team USA struggled to get much going offensively, first against Mexico starter Gallardo, then Mendoza, the Royals right-hander. Gallardo pitched tough for 3 1/3 innings, throwing hard and looking ready. “He kept it off the barrel,’ is the way Rollins put it.

Wright had a very nice game, but Team USA was an offensive disappointment. “But that’s baseball.’

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