For those of you who have not been watching the World Baseball Classic, Victor Mesa is the Manager of the Cuba team.
This morning Cuba played Japan in the first round of pool A. The performance Victor Mesa put on in the ninth was epic.
Cuba entered the top of the ninth leading 6-0. After a deep fly ball, which was caught, Mesa yanked his pitcher. The new pitcher walked the next two batters — without hesitation, Mesa yanked him also. The third pitcher of the inning started with a wild pitch, and got yelled at from the dugout by Mesa.
Mesa immediately got two more relievers up and going in the bullpen. After a five-pitch walk, Mesa was out to the mound to ask for his fourth pitcher of the inning. The announcers described Mesa as a combination between, Lou Piniella, Ozzie Guillen and Bobby Knight. After giving up an infield hit, the pitcher then gave up a sacrifice fly.
Mesa comes right out to the mound while telling the catcher to get back behind the plate, and was animated about his pitcher throwing strikes. The game ended on a strikeout.
I was impressed to see a manger use four different pitchers to get the job done. So often the Chicago Cubs just turn the game over to Carlos Marmol and roll the dice. Mesa stayed engaged in the game and demanded that his pitchers throw strikes.
He sent a clear message to his team as they moved on. If you aren’t going to throw strikes, you won’t stay in the game.
I don’t think the Cubs need to baby their pitchers. So often the team’s coaches come out to let them know they appreciate their effort, even thought they have blown the game. Walks won’t cut it on a big league mound and it is time Chicago’s pitchers learned that.
A little tough love from Victor Mesa might be just what the Cubs’ pitching staff needs to start throwing with some purpose.