Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ron Washington Sank The Rangers' Battleship

It would be foolish of me to blame all of last nigh't Ranger meltdown on manager Ron Washington. But I'm a blogger and looking foolish has never stopped me from writing before, why start now? The Rangers and Josh Hamilton knocked Yankee ace CC Sabathia out of the game after hanging five runs on him in just four innings. C.J. Wilson cruised through seven innings allowing only a run. Wilson had thrown 98 pitches going into the 8th inning so Washington's decision to leave him in against Gardner was warranted.

Gardner hit an infield single aided by despite the uncalled for, yet highly dramatic, head first slide. Washington left Wilson in, sitting at 102 pitches, to face Derek Jeter. I didn't mind this move either for two reasons. 1) Jeter has not been good this year. 2) He's Jeter The Clutch (or some such nonsense) and he would have hit that clutch double off of God Himself (not that Washington would have called on the northpaw anyway). That's when Washington finally started firing shots that hit something.

B1 This was the first peg to hit the battleship. Washington turns to the bullpen and summons 74-year-old lefty Darren Oliver who had actually pitched well throughout the season. Much to Washington's chagrin, Oliver is actually anticlutch and walked Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira on 13 pitches.

B2 If he had just gone C1 and missed, he might not have sunk the Rangers' battleship. Washington replaces one Darren with the other and calls for O'Day. O'Day rewards his manager by giving up a screaming line drive hit and leaves the mound without breaking a sweat.

B3 Washington is on fire know and can see that battleship sinking. He goes back to his bullpen and pulls out some guy named Clay Rapada. I wouldn't know Clay Rapada if he walked into this basement wearing a Clay Rapada shirt. I would just figure he was delivering food I forgot I ordered from a restaurant I never heard of. Just like this post is getting away from me, so was the game from Washington. Cano singled and Washington would call for another reliever. Surely, this time it would be his best pitcher back there, Neftali Feliz. Right?

B4 Washington sank the Rangers' battleship. General Washington sent for Derek Holland. Holland gave up the tie-breaking single to Marcus Thames before mercifully ending the inning. The damage was done though. It still baffles me how, in this day and age of information, managers still refuse to use their best reliever in the highest leverage situations. Feliz hadn't pitched in almost a week, not using him anywhere in this inning was simply irresponsible.

The Rangers just went through the motions to end the game. Ian Kinsler drew a leadoff walk to start the Rangers' portion of the inning. But he was picked off by Kerry Wood, something Wood hadn't done in two years. After the walk, Wood and Mariano Rivera shut the Rangers down without a hitch.

Stay tuned to see if I can make the rest of my playoff recaps board game themed. With my attention span I'm guessing..ooh, a piece of candy.

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