The bottom of the 9th started with a 4-0 Ranger lead and Michael Kirkman on the mound. It looked like it would be a clean inning until the Cubs started a little 2-out rally with a single and a walk.
Wash wasted no time getting his closer into the game, which prompted me to send out the following tweet…
The inning did get out of hand, though. After an infield single loaded the bases, Nate Schierholtz hit a 2-run dying quail double that left fielder Jeff Baker couldn’t quite get to.
Nathan hit the next batter he faced; then got bailed out by Craig Gentry’s spectacular diving play.
The reason I bring this up is that Wash has the reputation of being a dunderhead of the highest order, which often leads people to overreact when things go awry. In this case it was the Jeff Baker play, which sent Twitter into a frenzy because WHY WAS BAKER STILL IN THE GAME?!
It turns out that Baker was in the game because Leury Garcia (the other utility guy) had already been burned as a pinch hitter. Rather than risk getting caught without a backup infielder, Wash elected to keep Baker in the game.
So there was a method to the madness, which just made everyone angrier becauseWHY DID YOU USE GARCIA AND PAINT YOURSELF INTO A CORNER?!
While it’s true that using Garcia was ill-advised, when is it smart to fix one mistake by making another? What if Beltre had gotten injured and there’d been no utility guy to step in for him? Would we have been happier to see Geovany Soto playing 3rd if it meant David Murphy was in left?
The real story of the 9th inning should have been Michael Kirkman (who couldn’t get the 3rd out) and Joe Nathan (who also couldn’t get the 3rd out). Baker being in left got way overblown because I guess it’s just easier to blame Wash and go along with the narrative.
It doesn’t take long for the Wash bashing to completely beat me down, especially considering that it’s only April. I’m not above questioning some of his decisions, but rarely do I think things are as bad as they’re made out to be.
Really, I just wish people weren’t so quick to gather their torches and pitchforks every time one of Wash’s calls doesn’t work out.
That’s probably too much to ask from Twitter, though.
Press on, Rangers fans.