Another day, another crappy Rangers loss. This is getting old.
With each day, it gets a little quieter in the Rangers' clubhouse. It becomes tougher to find the words to describe another discouraging loss. It becomes harder to explain why three weeks into the season the Rangers have the worst record in the American League.
Frank Catalanotto invokes "Groundhog Day" in reference to this poor stretch, where they've lost 10 of their last 12. "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" seems a little more apropos, I think.
Kevin Sherrington has a column up on the Rangers' bad start, that focuses on the defensive problems, and makes several salient points:
Of the infielders, only Ian Kinsler has above-average range and skills for his position, and he's the most erratic.
Here's the problem with an average to below-average infield: The Rangers' rotation is built around pitchers who won't allow balls to enter Arlington's jet stream, and not a bad idea, at that.
Pitchers who induce ground balls generally don't get many strikeouts, though, and the statistics bear that out. The Rangers are last in baseball in strikeouts, meaning more balls put into play.
Good news: The Rangers lead all of baseball in double plays.
Bad news: More plays means more room for errors.
How much of this is Washington's fault? Hard to say. He certainly came with a good pedigree, and it's hard to believe defense isn't emphasized.
He also inherited all the infielders except Ben Broussard, whom he insisted on having. He may yet wish to withdraw the recommendation.
Given Broussard's play at first base and at the plate, it's no wonder that Jon Daniels suggested more playing time for Jason Botts. He couldn't be any worse. In a season when the owner and GM have admitted that one of the goals is testing young talent, the Rangers need to find out if Botts can play at this level.
But if Daniels was willing to concede Washington's wishes in the first place, the move probably deserves more than a month. Otherwise it looks like the GM may have overstepped his bounds.
Maybe it's fine with you. Even if he's not responsible for the Rangers' problems, Washington is accountable. Just remember, appearances are important. If the players think the manager is second-guessed from above, the manager loses the clubhouse.
Speaking of manager/GM disconnect, Ron Washington wants Frank Thomas here :
Manager Ron Washington said he has no doubt that Thomas would make the Rangers better. Washington was a third-base coach with the A's in 2006, when Thomas hit 39 homers with 114 RBI. Thomas started to heat up after the season's first month.
"I certainly haven't brought it up to Jon, and he hasn't brought it up to me," Washington said. "I'll take him in a heartbeat. Once he reaches 100 at-bats, he really does start hacking."
Eddie Guardado is coming off the d.l. today. No word for sure as to how room will be made for him, although Kason Gabbard may be going on the d.l., which would present a temporary solution.
Evan Grant has a new Rangers newsletter up . A lot of good stuff there, including addressing the "why did we give away Chris Young/Edinson Volquez/John Danks/Armando Galarraga" question, and fields a question from me about whether Ron Washington may get axed.