Oct 6, 2012, 12:12 AM EDT
I maintain that the Rangers are baseball’s most talented team. That they’re done after one wild card game falls mostly on the shoulders of Josh Hamilton and the shortcomings of manager Ron Washington.
Hamilton’s struggles are well chronicled. In the Rangers’ final nine games — seven of which proved to be losses — he went 10-for-39 with no homers, 16 strikeouts and no walks. He also made a big error in Wednesday’s defeat that gave the AL West to the A’s and relegated the Rangers to the wild card.
Tonight’s performance didn’t come with any defensive miscues, but it may have been the ugliest of the bunch. Hamilton grounded into a double play on the very first pitch he saw. He made another first-pitch out later, and he twice struck out on three pitches. Four at-bats, five outs, eight pitches.
Washington’s in-game management leaves much to be desired — Tony La Russa ran circles around him in the World Series last year — but one can live with that if his players respect and play hard for him. The way Hamilton mailed it in at the end and laughed off Washington in the dugout after Wednesday’s error doesn’t speak well for him and doesn’t speak well for Washington’s leadership. Perhaps it’s just one player. Perhaps it isn’t.
Still, Washington has blind spots. It’s one thing that Washington thinks Michael Young can still hit. After all, Young did bat .338 last season. It’s another thing that Washington has somehow been fooled into thinking he’s worth playing in the infield.
Washington also believes Elvis Andrus is good enough to bat second in the AL’s best lineup, yet he constantly has him put down sacrifice bunts ahead of two of the game’s best hitters. Andrus led the league in the category this year.
Now tonight’s loss was a team effort. Washington shouldn’t have gone to Derek Holland in the seventh, but it only cost Texas one run at the most in what ended up being a 5-1 game. Hamilton’s 0-for-4 still looms large, particularly since the two guys ahead of him both had two hits, but cleanup man Adrian Beltre had the same line. Unless Washington was the one who told Rangers hitters to go up hacking against Joe Saunders, he’s not responsible for the futile effort.
But the Rangers have come up short with a very talented roster three straight years now. I imagine the early exit makes it a whole lot less likely that Hamilton will be brought back after he hits free agency this winter. Washington almost surely will return, but it might be for the best if he’s set free, too.
Jul 10, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT
Wilson failed to make it out of the fourth inning yesterday and hasn’t made it past five innings since June 19, allowing 22 runs in 16.2 innings during that span.
Jul 10, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
Hardly anyone throws it anymore. Why?
Jul 10, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn repeatedly expressed confidence in his ability to get No. 3 overall pick Carlos Rodon signed despite the North Carolina State left-hander being a Scott Boras client and sure enough the two sides have reached an agreement.
Jul 10, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT
A tough, tough break for the Cardinals and Yadier Molina.
Jul 10, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT
Carlos Beltran was scratched from the Yankees’ lineup last night when a ball he hit during batting practice bounced off the screen protecting the pitcher and struck his eye. And now he’s been diagnosed with two facial fractures, but they’ve been classified as “small” and the Yankees think he’ll avoid the disabled list.
Jul 10, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT
Cincinnati’s injury woes keep getting worse, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips will be “out a while” with a ligament issue and possible tear in his left thumb.
Jul 10, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
Braun has hit exclusively second (37 times) or third (32 times) in the lineup this season and has a grand total of just three career starts in the fifth spot, all of them coming 2008.
Jul 10, 2014, 2:46 PM EDT
It’s a magical realism thing: features a coach putting Jeter at second base.
Jul 10, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT
For now Marco Estrade is scheduled to start Saturday, but he’s been terrible all season while serving up an NL-high 27 homers in 18 starts.
Jul 10, 2014, 2:10 PM EDT
Could be bad news for the Reds and Bailey
Jul 10, 2014, 1:43 PM EDT
Astros rookie George Springer has gotten lots of attention for his offense, which includes 19 homers and an .818 OPS in 74 games, but the 24-year-old outfielder can also do some spectacular things defensively like he did last night.
Jul 10, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT
A.J. Pierzynski being let go is not necessarily a white flag move. But should the Sox be sellers now?
Jul 10, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Signed to a four-year, $32 million contract this offseason that draw quite a bit of criticism, Vargas has a career-best 3.31 ERA and was on pace for a career-high 225 innings after throwing just 150 innings for the Angels last year.
Jul 10, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT
I can see not trading him given the small return he might bring. But re-signing him?
Jul 10, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT
Jered Weaver left Wednesday’s start against the Blue Jays with lower back tightness and there was some speculation that the Angels would give the right-hander a little extra time off before the All-Star break, but manager Mike Scioscia announced that Weaver will start Saturday versus the Rangers.
Jul 10, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT
Yes, it’s Jeter day at HBT, apparently.
Jul 10, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
Before you look, guess which year it was. I am somewhat embarrassed to have been a couple of years off.
Jul 10, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Cliff Lee’s first minor-league rehab start was cut short by bad weather, but the Phillies left-hander took the mound at Single-A for the second time last night and tossed four innings as planned.
Jul 10, 2014, 9:17 AM EDT
The Cardinals’ most important position player may miss some time.
- Yadier Molina to miss 8-12 weeks with a torn thumb ligament 14
- Carlos Beltran placed on concussion disabled list after batting practice mishap 12
- Derek Jeter is the most popular MLB jersey this year 15
- And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights 51
- The Rockies “aren’t looking around very hard” for a trade of star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki 28
- Jury finds the Dodgers partially negligent, awards $18 million to Bryan Stow 46
- Masahiro Tanaka injured: Yankees ace to undergo an MRI exam on his right arm 60
- David Ortiz is not pleased that his name got pulled into the John Lackey-Nelson Cruz thing 99
- Shocker: the Red Sox publicly criticize A.J. Pierzynski after cutting him (184)
- John Lackey on Nelson Cruz: “Not even going to comment … I’ve got nothing to say about him” (143)
- And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights (126)
- The 2014 All-Star rosters have been announced (103)
- Giants broadcaster says Angel Hernandez “does not belong in the big leagues” (101)