Quantcast

Ron Washington Pulled C.J. Wilson Too Early and Bullpen Blew it for Texas

If you’re a Texas Rangers fan walking out of the Ballpark in Arlington or done watching Game 1 of the ALCS on TV, you have to be asking yourself “how the heck did that just happen?” The Rangers were up 5-0 in the 7th and on absolute cruise control against the Yankees but wound up losing 6-5. The momentum change in the game was unreal and could cost Texas a chance at the series. Fans are lucky they have their manager Ron Washington to blame for things unraveling so quickly.

Starting pitcher C.J. Wilson was awesome for the first six innings of the game and only got touched up by Robinson Cano who hooked a change up around the right field foul pole for a home run. After the home run in the 7th, Wilson got the next three batters out. Then in the 8th, Wilson allowed an infield hit to Brett Gardner who beat out a ball in the 3-4 hole. Derek Jeter hit a hard ground ball down the left field line right after that, scoring Gardner from first. It was one of the few hard-hit balls Wilson allowed the entire game, yet Ron Washington thought that was the proper time to remove his effective starter. Wilson left with a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the 8th with Derek Jeter at second. And that’s when everything fell apart for the Rangers.

Lefty Darren Oliver walked Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira to load the bases. Washington pulled Oliver after 13 pitches in favor of Darren O’Day who gave up a laser by Alex Rodriguez that scored two making it 5-4. The very next pitch, Robinson Cano smashed a line drive up the middle off reliever Clay Zapada to score Teixeira and tie the game. Keep in mind that’s two pitchers who made two pitches and gave up three runs. Washington then figured Derek Holland could be the answer. Holland gave up the go-ahead single to Marcus Thames but managed to get the next three men out, not to mention pitch a scoreless 9th. By that time it didn’t matter because the damage had been done.

Ron Washington went through five pitchers in the 8th inning. C.J. Wilson left with a 5-2 lead and only a man on second but Washington thought it was time to pull him. Maybe next time he’ll let his starter keep going, and maybe next time the rest of the bullpen will do their jobs.

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Umpires Get Call Right at Plate on CC Sabathia Tag Out of Nelson Cruz

As much as we rip on umpires for getting calls wrong (and insist upon instant replay), they actually do a good job. When you consider how fast the game is played and how difficult it is to get in the right positions to make calls, they get it right more often than not. The problem is when they get things wrong, we know about it because we have HD cameras and instant replay from every angle, making missed calls inexcusable. Well, because we’ve pointed out all the mistakes the umpires have made in the playoffs, I’d like to point out a call they got right.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, CC Sabathia launched a pitched over Jorge Posada’s glove. Nelson Cruz, the runner at third, decided to bolt him to try and score on the wild pitch. Posada got a great bounce off the brick wall, relayed to Sabathia who tagged Cruz out. Cruz appeared to beat the throw (and he did), but replays showed Sabathia tagged him out high before Cruz’s foot touched the plate (as you can see in the picture above).

The play didn’t seem to matter for most of the game because Texas had a three-run home run from Josh Hamilton earlier in the inning and got a two-run double from Michael Young in the 4th to lead 5-0. Once the Yankees took the lead scoring five runs in the 8th, they sure could have used that run. Good call by the umps on the play.

MLB League Championship Series Preview

The dust from the MLB Division Series has settled and four very good teams are left standing.  Playoff baseball is all about match-ups.  Of course, there is the pitcher against the opposing pitcher; there is the pitcher against the opposing lineup where history and pitcher/hitter handedness come into play; and there is pitcher/hitter against the playing environment, the ballparks.  There is also manager against manager, but for the sake of this article, we’re looking at the players and what goes down on the field.

Today, as we prepare for another round of what figures to be very exciting MLB action, we will look at some of the potential match-ups in store.

[Read more...]

Mets Fans Trying to Raise Money to Buy Out Oliver Perez’s Contract

This is without a doubt one of the most unique and hilarious fan stories I’ve ever come across. No offense to Oliver Perez, but apparently New York Mets fans have the ability to get pretty creative when they’re tired of the way things are going — which seems to happen more often than not.  Hardball Talk has brought to our attention that a few Mets fans are raising money to buy out Oliver Perez’s contract.

Absolutely brilliant.  The Mets are in the market for a new general manager and when they find one, I think he’d be wise to make cashing in on this proposal one of his top priorities.  The fans in charge of the fund plan to accept donations until February 13, which is when pitchers and catchers report to off-season workouts.  The goal is the $12 million that is left on Perez’s 3 year, $36 million deal.

Perez has angered Mets fans by pitching horribly since signing a fat contract in 2009 and even refusing a Triple-A assignment when he was struggling.  The organizers of the fund have even vowed to donate the money to charity if they fall short of their goal.  However, if they come even close to reaching the goal, I’d like to think the Mets’ front office would realize how passionate their fan base is about hating the guy and bite the bullet.  All in all, I think it’s a genius concept.

Mets Would be Wise to Hire Logan White as General Manager

I always told myself the past few years that if I ever came into the type of money needed to buy a baseball team, my first move would be offering Dodgers Assistant GM Logan White as much money as it took to get him to work for my team. Starting off as the Dodgers’ farm director and being promoted to Assistant GM a few years ago, White has built the Dodgers’ stacked farm system and he’s more responsible than anyone in the organization for the team’s recent success. He interviewed for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ GM vacancy and is now one of the five candidates for the Mets job. He would be a great hire for the team, and I’ll explain why.

Over the past nine years (when White ran his first draft for the team), the Dodgers have reached the playoffs four times and won at least 90 regular season games three times. The team reached the NLCS in back-to-back years, largely with a core established by White’s drafts. Here are some of the players White drafted since taking over in 2002: Clayton Kershaw, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Russell Martin. In addition to selecting those young men who have turned into All-Stars for the team, White played a big role in the signings of Japanese pitchers Takashi Saito and Hiroke Kuroda. Saito became one of the best closers in the NL when he was with the Dodgers, and Kuroda has been a strong starter during his tenure with the team.

Put simply, Logan White is a superior talent evaluator. Think about your favorite team and take a look at the roster. How many All-Stars does your team have? How many were drafted and developed by the organization? Not many, right? That’s what makes what White did so impressive. I have no doubt he’ll be able to keep it up wherever he goes, especially an organization like the Mets where they would allow him to spend money on draft picks. Hiring him would lead to the rebirth of the team’s farm system and an excellent future in New York. You know what? I better keep my mouth shut — I don’t want the Mets becoming too good over the next decade.

Rangers Celebrate With Ginger Ale So Josh Hamilton Can Join the Fun

This has to be one of the more admirable instances of team unity I’ve ever seen in sports.  It may not seem like a big deal to the outsider, but to Josh Hamilton it means a ton.  After another dominating performance by Cliff Lee helped Texas advance to the ALCS, the Rangers celebrated with Ginger Ale in the clubhouse instead of the traditional champagne and beer.

As you probably know, Hamilton has battled drug and alcohol problems and wisely chose not to participate in the AL West-clinching celebration with his teammates because he didn’t want to be around alcohol.  “Everybody yelled ‘Ginger ale!’ and I just jumped in the middle of the pile and they doused me with it,” Hamilton said of the celebration. “It was the coolest thing for my teammates to understand why I can’t be a part of the celebration, and for them to adapt it for me to be a part of it says a lot about my teammates.”

I’m sure the players went out and partied like they normally would after the ginger ale showers, but I thought the gesture was great.  If anyone deserves their own special celebration, it’s your MVP candidate who hit .359 with 32 homers and 100 RBI in the regular season.  On to the Yankees…

Photo: Twitter user the_hereford

Baserunning, Ian Kinsler Carry Rangers to Game 5 ALDS Win

We’ve already addressed the awesomeness that is Cliff Lee for the Rangers. He pitched Game 1 and Game 5 of the ALDS and beat the Rays both times, allowing only two runs over 16 innings. What also should be addressed is that Ian Kinsler hit three home runs in the series, including a big two-run bomb off Rafael Soriano in the 9th to give Lee a much bigger margin for error. Kinsler went 8-for-18 with five runs scored and six RBIs in the five-game series. He hit three long balls and would have had a strong case for ALDS MVP if they gave out such an award.

What also must be added is the way the Rangers beat the Rays in Game 5. As LBS contributor Alan Hull and I discussed, baserunning was a deciding factor in the game. Shortstop Elvis Andrus scored the first run of the game going from second to home on a simple ground ball to first, all because Carlos Pena and David Price took their sweet time on the putout. Andrus should have been held at third, and he wouldn’t have scored after Vladimir Guerrero flied out to end the inning. That’s one run given away by the Rays, but they weren’t done, and credit must be given to Andrus for the aggressive running.

[Read more...]