Canada postgame interview March 8

Q.  I'm not suggesting this is why you lost by 10 runs, but down four in the fourth, two on, nobody out, you bunted.  What was your thinking there?

ERNIE WHITT:  Trying to chip away at the lead.  We had a lot of game left, and we're full of left hand hitters.  And we trust every hitter to come up to do the job, and we didn't do it.

That was my reason at that time. I wouldn't have done it in the sixth.  Fourth inning, yes.

Q.  What were your impressions of Maestri, the starting pitcher, and did he do anything different than what you thought he would?

ERNIE WHITT:  No, we had a game plan on him.  We knew what he was going to feature.  Number one, you've got to give Italy credit.  I mean, we got our asses kicked today.  That's all there is to it.  There's some good ball players over there.  Marco does a nice job with the program.

Just simple as that, we just got beat.  They came up with some key hits that really kind of hurt.  We got close when we couldn't get that shutdown inning.  We got within two runs, and we weren't able to shut them down.  So sometimes you have to give the opponent some credit, too.

Q. How do you rebound from this and go out and try to beat Mexico tomorrow?

ERNIE WHITT:  We'll show up and we'll play.  That's all can I say.  We have to pitch better, we have to get some more timely hits and go from there.

Q. How much do you miss Brett Lawrie, your lineup now, the one you have now, is predominantly left handed.  Is that a big factor for you?

ERNIE WHITT:  Well, I mean, we miss him, but that's not the reason why we lost today.  Let's be honest, the team, they came up with key hits in situations where we just didn't shut them down.  One player is not going to make a difference.  So I'm not going to say that.

Q.  This Italian team, how do you think it compares to the one you saw at the 2009 WBC and maybe what does that tell you about just the overall competitiveness of this tournament overall?

ERNIE WHITT:  Well, they're definitely    I think they're a better team this year.  I really do.  You look at it, they beat Mexico, they mercied us.  They're definitely a better team than what they were in 2009, so that tells me that their program is growing, and hats off to them.

Q.  You said the 2009 game is the game you just don't like to think about.  At what point during this game did you start to feel that it was turning against you guys?

ERNIE WHITT:  Every time we got close, they came back the next inning and put some runs on the board.  In a game of baseball, you have to have some shutdown innings, and we weren't able to do that.

It's full of momentum swings, and they kept the momentum on their side.  We had it when we came back within two, and we just weren't able to shut them down the next inning.  No question it hurt, the three run homer in the third inning.  Scotty had been throwing the ball very well.  He struggled a little bit today, but again, it's to me it was the biggest thing was we weren't able to shut them down.

Q.  To play a live-or-die game against Mexico, what are your thoughts about this game?

ERNIE WHITT:  Again, it's a game that you go out and you try to win.  Every time we go on the field we try to win.  So we're going to have to try to put it behind us.

And it doesn't look good, let's be honest, but stranger things have happened.  We have to win the next two games now and get some help.

Q.  You know as well as anybody from your playing days that regardless of how big a lead is, a team can always come back if there's still life.  How tough is that mercy rule?  Yes it was a huge lead, but, again, crazy things can happen in baseball.

ERNIE WHITT:  Well, there's a lot of things that come into play.  We have a game tomorrow and we have to have pitching for tomorrow too.  Unfortunately, you go out and you try to do the best you can and manage the pitchers the best that you can and still know that you have a game that you have to have pitchers for in the next day.

This early in the year it's awfully tough to bring pitchers back on back to back days.  I don't like doing it.  But I'll talk to the pitchers that threw today.  And if they're able to, we'll see if we'll use them or not.  But I'm going to try to not use them.