Ron Washington wins 582nd game to become Rangers all-time winningest manager

Behind starter Derek Holland, the Rangers shut out the Athletics 4-0 to take a series win and cut their deficit in the AL West to 2.5 games. The victory was Ron Washington’s 582nd as Rangers manager, moving into first place for the most in Rangers history. Bobby Valentine had been in the lead with 581, accrued between 1985 and 1992. However, he had a .490 winning percentage. Washington, in seven years, has a .537 winning percentage.

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Josh Hamilton, Ron Washington draw blame for the Rangers’ early exit

From Hardball Talk

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.

 

Ron Washington: “There was only one Katrina”

Rangers manager Ron Washington will entertain about a dozen family members this week, but has no plans to go back to his home in New Orleans after Tropical Storm Isaac, which is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it tracks up the Gulf of Mexico, makes landfall.

The hurricane is forecast to hit the Gulf Coast on Wednesday.

Washington lost much of his home and property in the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Then a coach with Oakland, he left the team for three days to return to his home. He found a wreck that took him years to rebuild and restore. With Isaac expected to be a Category 1 or 2 hurricane when it hits, Washington does not expect damage to be as severe.

“This is not Katrina,” he said Monday. “There was only one Katrina.”

Walking through the park and reminiscing.

From The Newberg Report

Kansas City signed 18-year-old Ron Washington as a catcher but raised him as a shortstop-second baseman-third baseman.  He spent six seasons there, reaching Class AA the last two, where he saw most of his playing time at second base.

Those two years, Wash’s fellow Royals Baseball Academy graduate Frank White was breaking in as the club’s utility infielder and then settling in as its regular second baseman.

Wash was blocked at second by White, who was just a year and a half older.  But shortstop Freddie Patek was on the wrong side of 30.

Was Wash frustrated?

The Royals traded him in 1976 to the Dodgers for a player you’ve never heard of.

Wash played in 154 AA games and 116 AAA games in the Los Angeles system.  He reached the big leagues in September 1977, getting 20 plate appearances in 10 games.  He hit .368 and struck out only twice in 19 at-bats.

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Spotlight on Josh

Do you think Josh Hamilton has had enough of the spotlight since the season began?

After hitting .395 in April and .344 in May, Hamilton has hit just .191 in June. He also has more strikeouts in June (26) than he had in April or May.

It seems that manager Ron Washington has had some meetings with Josh both privately and publicly about the month-long drought.

This is what Evan Grant has written about it:

A day after Josh Hamilton’s futile attempt to hit out-of-his-area-code sliders, manager Ron Washington pleaded with the slugger both privately and publicly to show a little more patience.

Washington met with Hamilton after he went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts Saturday and seemed completely helpless against an array of sliders off the plate. Hamilton saw 20 pitches on the day, 16 of which were curves or sliders. He had 10 swings-and-misses, all on the breaking balls.

“I’m not saying he shouldn’t stop swinging the bat,” Washington said. “But he’s swinging at a whole bunch of balls out of the zone, way out of the zone. If guys are going to make their adjustment to him by throwing pitches way off the plate, then just [take] it. You don’t have to make as big an adjustment as he’s making.”

Hamilton declined to comment after Saturday’s loss and again before Sunday’s game.

Hamilton entered Sunday leading the AL in the percentage of times swinging at the first pitch (49.6 percent). It’s clear that after two months of getting pounded, pitchers have decided to not throw Hamilton anything hard in the strike zone, hoping he would remain aggressive and follow pitches right off the plate. Hamilton has done just that.

Wow. Of course anyone who has followed baseball for more than two days knows how dangerous it can be when you call a player out in public. It can drive a slumping player further into a slump. It can manifest itself in a hurry because the player tries even harder to get out of the slump he got in to begin with.

 

Stay tuned.