Time for the red to come back out.
And a couple of things that have been rattling around in my mind about yesterday's game and Ron Washington's decision-making in the 8th inning, one small, one big.
First, the small one...if you are going to walk Marcus Thames, why not have Wilson do it before removing him from the game? Why bring in a reliever, have him warm up, and then immediately have him intentionally walk a batter? You traditionally want to have your new reliever come in and pitch, not come in and throw intentional balls and then pitch.
Secondly...what was Warner Madrigal even doing in the game in the 8th inning? Based on his usage by Ron Washington so far, Madrigal appears to be the last guy in the bullpen. He's probably getting sent down soon. There seems to be little faith in his ability to get guys out.
Was Frankie Francisco warming up at that point? You are planning on using him in the 9th if you have the lead anyway, so he may well have been up. And if he wasn't up, he should have been, because it seems like bases loaded in a tie game in the 8th is a situation where you want your best reliever, not your worst, coming into the game.
And for that matter, when you've got one out, bases loaded, and a two run lead on the road in the 8th inning, with a righthander, Carlos Guillen, coming up, why don't you go get Francisco at that point? Wouldn't you rather have Francisco come in in a situation where you desperately need a shut down, rather than stick with a struggling Wilson or bringing in your #7 reliever?
It is the trap of defining roles, and saying that Francisco is your "closer," and thus is only going to be brought in in the 9th inning with a lead, rather than in the most crucial spots. And by sticking with Wilson, rather than bringing in the best reliever on the team to put out the 8th inning fire, by being overly wedded to roles and "save" situations, Washington may well have cost the Rangers the game yesterday.
Jeff Wilson says that Kevin Millwood and Washington are both expressing faith in C.J. Wilson. Evan Grant says the Carlos Guillen double was on a cutter from Wilson, and suggests that part of Wilson's struggles are due to his reluctance to stick with his bread-and-butter fastball and slider.
Chris Davis's problem right now is his timing, as he's slow getting around on fastballs. Fastballs, of course, he killed when he first came up last year, and then started getting a steady diet of breaking balls, which he had to adjust to. But Ron Washington says he's going to keep rolling Davis out there, which is good to hear.
Jim Reeves thinks that Kevin Millwood can be the perfect guy to head up the young Ranger rotation going forward, and is worried that, if Millwood is pitching well this summer but the Rangers are out of contention, Millwood could be moved.
Meanwhile, over at the DMN blog, Brett has a roundup of yesterday's minor league games, and Richard Durrett asks what you would do about the bullpen situation.