Okay. Let's set the stage.
The Rangers start playing in N.L. parks today. No DH during this three game series against the Mets.
The Mets are starting Oliver Perez, Pedro Martinez, and John Maine in this series.
You've got 5 guys you've been using in the OF/DH mix -- Hamilton, Murphy, Bradley, Boggs, and Byrd. With no DH, two of those guys are going to sit in each of these three games.
Now, David Murphy has been playing every day, pretty much, this season, and has been great against RHPs. However, he's been bad against lefties -- he's hitting (before tonight's game) .241/.264/.356 against LHPs. And Oliver Perez, heading into tonight's game, was allowing lefties to hit .123/.284/.231 off of him.
So, in light of the fact that you are probably going to sit Murphy for one of the games in this series, wouldn't it make sense to sit him against Perez? Particularly when you have the righty hitting Marlon Byrd (.289/.378/.500 against LHPs) or Brandon Boggs (who has crushed LHPs throughout his minor league career, and is hitting .308/.379/.615 against them in a very limited sample in the majors), who can hit lefties and who are about as good as Murphy with the glove?
I mean, isn't that a slam-dunk?
And if you are hellbent on playing Murphy against the lefty, wouldn't it make more sense to hit him 6th or 7th, behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia and/or Chris Shelton?
Not, apparently, if you are Ron Washington. If you are Ron Washington, you roll Murphy out there, because...well, I'm not sure why. I'm sure if you were to ask, you'd get some platitude about how Murphy has been swinging the bat well and Perez is tough against hitters from both sides, but no real explanation. I wouldn't guess that there is a real reason, other than, well, Murphy is the starter.
But here's what is so infuriating about this...if Murphy is so good, so valuable, so important to have in the lineup, why in the hell would you do a double-switch and take him out of the game in the 6th inning, down 3 runs, and put Marlon Byrd in the game? If you are going to do that, if he isn't important enough to not be double-switched out, then why not just start Byrd from the outset?
I just don't get this. Murphy shouldn't be playing everyday...he should be sitting against the majority of lefties, given this team's composition. And when he plays against lefties, he's got no business hitting 5th. A tough lefty will just pitch around Milton Bradley -- who is crushing lefties this season -- to get to Murphy.
And Murphy sure as hell shouldn't be starting against a LHP who has allowed 8 hits to lefties all season, in a National League park, when that means relegating Boggs and Byrd to the bench.
Particularly when, most likely, Murphy is going to end up sitting one of the games of the series this week anyway. I am willing to bet that Murphy is on the bench against either Maine or Martinez -- both righthanders -- this weekend. And there will be no good explanation forthcoming as to why he is sitting against one of them, rather than Perez.
I'm not in the crowd that thinks Washington is incompetent. I think he's been a disappointing hire, but I don't think Trey Hillman or John Russell or any of the other candidates would be doing significantly better. I think he catches too much flak about certain things.
But then, there's something that is so basic, so obvious, that he just whiffs on, and it makes me wonder what, exactly, he's thinking about out there, and what Art Howe -- his bench coach, the experienced former manager who is supposed to be providing input on this stuff -- is thinking.
It is maddening.