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For the love of God, Ron Washington: get Vlad out of right field

Oct 28, 2010, 8:40 AM EDT

Texas Rangers v San Francisco Giants, Game 1 Getty Images

I was uneasy with Vlad Guerrero playing right field before Game 1. Afterwards? Ye Gods, don’t let this happen again, Ron Washington. Vlad was hell on wheels in the outfield last night. And not round wheels. Square, stone wheels like something you’d see on the Flintstones.

Among the highlights:

  • First inning, Buster Posey at the plate. Posey hit a shallow fly ball.  Guerrero came nowhere near it. Thank goodness for Ian Kinsler who busted out from second base to get that, as if he were given a memo before the game that he was supposed to play both second and right.  He turned a double play on that one, but it could have been disastrous. And yes, maybe that was a matter of coaching — Guerrero was playing deep — but he was probably playing so deep because the Rangers knew he couldn’t go back on anything and wanted to avoid balls over his head;
  • In the eighth, He charged Edgar Renteria’s single, but gave it the Roger Dorn ole treatment, allowing it to roll to the wall and putting Renteria on third;
  • Three batters later was maybe the worst image of the night: Freddy Sanchez hit one that dropped into the bullpen. Vlad was shaky enough getting over to it, but then couldn’t find the handle, allowing Sanchez to go to second. It was originally scored a double, but the beat writers who were at the game and on Twitter said that everyone in the press box was absolutely howling at the official scorer on that one. They were right to howl, and he quickly changed it to a single and an error.

Beyond those plays he just looked slow and kind of sad. Misplayed hops. Bobbled balls. Jogging into the corner. I started making my usual Fred Sanford jokes during the live chat and people started defending Fred Sanford from such a vile association.

But I don’t mean for this to be a pile-on on Guerrero. I think he was trying his hardest. It’s just that his hardest is nowhere near good enough. Not for the World Series. Not in that outfield.  He may have done worse than expected, but the expectations shouldn’t have been high.

Ultimately, Ron Washington didn’t put Guerrero in a position to succeed. It didn’t cost the Rangers the game — there were a lot of other things that went wrong — but it cost a lot to fans in psychic terms, what with having a player who struck us with awe for so many years fumble around feebly.  I always thought the old timers who talk about Willie Mays in the 1973 World Series were overstating how bad it was, but now I know how painful this sort of thing can be.

The worst part: Ron Washington said after the game that Vlad is going back out there tonight.  For the love of God, I hope someone talks him out of it today.

  1. Ari Collins - Oct 28, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    Mostly unrelated, but I found your must-click link of the day. Seemingly the entire BP staff talks about their favorite World Series memory. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=12312

  2. texasdawg - Oct 28, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    Guerrero played 18 games in the outfield this year. He’s not fast, but in none of them did he look like that. (Small sample size, yes, but he was a +2.7 UZR/150 in those games.)

    I’d be fine with Murphy (against the RHP Cain), but I’m OK with Guerrero as well. He’s not likely to play that poorly again tonight.

  3. BC - Oct 28, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    The parallels to Dave Winfield abound. Winfield was a GOD in the outfield, but once he hit about 35, he was a DH. And a good DH. That’s what Vlad is.
    Putting Vlad in the field would be like putting David Ortiz or Jim Thome in the field at this point. Not happening, unless a game goes 37 innings or something.

    • larrytsg - Oct 28, 2010 at 6:18 PM

      Um, I know it was 6 years ago, but it was a bit surprising how “not awful” Ortiz was in the 2004 WS. I remember him playing 1B (which might have been a good choice for Vlad) and freezing a runner off of 3rd base, or picking him off after a routine infield play.

  4. Jonny 5 - Oct 28, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    What’s Ron to do? Where should Vlad be placed? You can’t bench him, he’s an offensive game changer as much as a defensive one in the OF.

  5. Lukehart80 - Oct 28, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    If Vlad is an “offensive game changer,” let him change the game by pinch hitting until they get back to Arlington.

    • Jonny 5 - Oct 28, 2010 at 10:50 AM

      I get the pinch hitting thing, but keeping Vlad on the bench until a pitching change is obviously not in Washingtons plans. And frankly if i were him I’d feel the same way about it. It’s Freaking Vlad we’re talking about, and that guy makes things happen, even if it is by accident most of the time.

  6. easports82 - Oct 28, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Why not do a Pat Burrel type deal and take him out in the 6th or 7th for defense? Giants’ put up a 3 spot in the 8th with a couple huge assists from Vlad. Pull those 3 and if the 9th played out how it did (though most likely, the Beard comes in sooner) and it’s a one run game. Starting the game is fine, get a couple AB’s, then pull him.

    Though, I am rooting for the Giants, so forget I brought this up.

  7. thebaseballidiot - Oct 28, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    But Vlad has to play in the outfield, so he can hit the game winning 3-run homer off of Lincecum, then throw the tying run out at the plate in the bottom of the 9th. It’s even be foretold by Nostradamus:

    At the final battle near the great bay
    When men still wield their own sword
    In the span of a week
    Vlad the Impaler will slay the mighty Giants

    He will toil the whole day
    When three score shall topple the wall
    And he will break the weak Linc of the chain
    With a mighty clout

    And his great arm will stay the renewed attack
    When the last of the gargantuan fall
    They will not be safe in their home
    When only one star shines bright

    It must be true.

    If

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