Monday, September 6, 2010

What's on Ron's Mind?

I really don't want to write this. Bagging on Ron Washington is one of the more over-used Ranger blog topics of the last three years. Between his inane in-game decisions to his coke admission right before the season, there's been plenty of cannon fodder for writers as obscure as me and as prominent as Randy Galloway. But it's become old, tiring to read. We get it already. But the latest Ron Washington decision made my head hurt so much I had to go get a CAT scan to make sure I didn't develop a brain tumor. So forgive me for a mindless rant.

I'm talking of course about the lineup decisions that Washington has gone with over the course of the ugly Minnesota series (which has passed the baton to the ugly starting Toronto series.) First on Friday, Washington decided to give Josh Hamilton a DH start and Vlad a day off. So Josh batted fourth. Understandable, you want your best run producer in the fourth spot especially without Vlad. I personally would of gone with Josh then Nelson Cruz four, but that's OK because Ian Kinsler made his return after a DL stint, so Kinsler third is fine by me. Wait? He was sixth? And David Murphy was three? Hmm. That's odd. With Kinsler power rates diminishing as his on-base rates are rising, three makes much more sense than sixth. After all, you want your best hitters in the 1-5 area. So you're saying Murphy is a better hitter than Kinsler? Well, Kinsler just came back from the DL so I can understand it. Kinsler still batted sixth the next night on Saturday. But with Josh hitting third and Vlad fourth, I really couldn't quarrel again.

But Sunday. Oh, Sunday. With Josh resting because of a crashing catch into the center field wall on Saturday and Elvis Andrus resting with a tight hamstring, Washington did NOT put Ian Kinsler and his .388 OBP into the leadoff spot. He put Christian Guzman and his .171/.227/.195 line into the top spot. Not only did he decide not to put Kinsler up front, Guzman shouldn't of even gotten the start, regardless of his order. How could he not reward Andres Blanco with the start, since he was blistering hot when he filled in for Kinsler the last two weeks (Blanco took his batting average from .229 on August 22 to the current .279 with five multi-hit games.)

There is no reason on this planet, or universe that can explain the decision to do this. I didn't see much about it in the reports (which makes me pine to become a beat writer even more. SOMEONE has to ask these questions.) Guzman might of had two hits and a walk in the game, but that's besides the point. The point is that Washington made a choice that defies all baseball explanation. And it's getting a little sickening.

But, whatever the case, Washington gets the most out of his players. His team is comfortably in first place and looks to make it's first post-season birth since 1999. His players play hard for him and defend him. And I guess that's all you can appreciate. I guess that's just the way managing go. End rant.

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