USA fans watching the WBC were irate with manager Mark DeRosa for mishandling Daniel Bard and his bullpen against Venezuela.
Team USA was absolutely in control of their World Baseball Classic quarterfinal against Veneuzuela, leading 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
That’s when manager Mark DeRosa put Daniel Bard on the mound. That’s also when things fell apart.
Bard’s appearance was nothing short of a disaster. After hitting Jose Altuve with a pitch to load the bases, he tossed a wild pitch to gift Venezuela the first of four runs that would erase the United States’ lead and put them behind.
DeRosa’s decision to stick with Bard after the scary HBP, which took Altuve out of the game, was immediately slated by USA fans on Twitter.
USA fans blasted Mark DeRosa for sticking with Daniel Bard in WBC
Hit by Pitch
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 19, 2023
The absolute certainty that DeRosa will explain this inning by saying something like “I promised Colorado I’d get Bard one full inning today” is adding a delightful umami layer to this absolute travesty of an inning.
— Michael Baumann (@MichaelBaumann) March 19, 2023
I watched Joe Girardi manage the Philadelphia Phillies for three years, and I still don’t think I’ve seen a manager blow a crucial game in the fashion that Mark DeRosa just did.
— Alex Carr (@AlexCarrMLB) March 19, 2023
DeRosa has absolutely no idea what he’s doing.
— Jack Fritz (@JackFritzWIP) March 19, 2023
The decision to leave Daniel Bard in after the hit batter is mind-blowing to me. Given his past… Everyone knew what it looked like was happening.
Gotta just take him out and move along.
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) March 19, 2023
There is a three-batter minimum at the WBC, so Bard had to face at least that many. DeRosa couldn’t avert disaster before the Altuve HBP. But he could have after it.
Instead, DeRosa opted to led Bard face a fourth batter. Venezuela immediately profited. That’s why he’s getting so much criticism, and why it’s largely deserved.
Bard started his career with the Red Sox but he’s spent the last three seasons with the Rockies. Last year he was 6-4 with an ERA of 1.79 and 34 saves. So the 37-year-old isn’t a bad pitcher. He just had a bad night.
It’s the manager’s job to…well…manage that. If a pitcher doesn’t have it, you’ve got to be ready to replace him. DeRosa didn’t have another reliever ready. Team USA paid the price for that.
DeRosa played for an array of teams including the Braves, Rangers, Cubs, Guardians, Cardinals, Giants, Nationals and Blue Jays. After retiring in 2013, he got a gig as an analyst for MLB Network. He had no prior managerial experience.