That’s The Way Managing Go

**ORIGINAL POSTED DATE 8/07/12**

I am no Major League manager, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t handle the pressure of being one. Ron Washington is a Major League manager and handles it well. He’s led the Rangers to two World Series, and I feel like fans of the franchise could never repay him. He’s great for the clubhouse. He’s great at motivating his guys and getting them to play together. As a Major League manager, though, he’s going to make mistakes, and he’s going to make unpopular decisions. Sunday and Monday’s games proved that.
There is absolutely no reason to call for a squeeze bunt play in a tie game with no outs and the top of your lineup up. Mike Olt made his way to third with no outs and Elvis Andrus, one of the best hitters in the lineup, at the plate. Elvis is a better hitter this year than he’s been any other year of his MLB career. He seems to have grown and developed that elusive maturity that every young player is supposed to. All that is needed here is a fly ball, or a strategically placed ground out, to bring Olt home. Elvis is more than capable of doing either one of those, having gone 2-for-4 before that with a single and a triple.

Assuming the squeeze play never happened, Elvis could have knocked Olt in with his groundout to shortstop. However, we could pretend Dave Anderson decided the ball was too close, and didn’t send Olt home. Michael Young would be up next with only one out. Again, just a decently placed groundball or a fly ball could have brought Olt home. Michael Young singled. Olt would have been home. 7-6, Rangers. Royals didn’t score again until the walk-off in the 10th. The Rangers could have won on the Michael Young single. Olt on third with no outs in a tie game—odds are he could have made it home. Instead he went on to make a throwing error (after Alberto Gonzalez made one) in the bottom of the 10th and the Royals win.

Elvis Andrus tweaked his shoulder on Sunday so, after errors by Gonzalez and Olt, Washington created his lineup on Monday with Michael Young at shortstop and Geovany Soto at DH. Washington has publicly stated before that he does not like playing both his catchers in a game (one at DH) in case he needs a backup, and he loses his DH. He’s also very publicly stated his “back on the horse” mentality, meaning if a player had a bad game, he lets them back on the field to figure it out. Alberto Gonzalez had a game-altering error on Sunday, but he’s on the team to take infield starts from guys who need rest. If Washington doesn’t trust him in his role, even after a bad inning, why is he on the team?

It’s no secret that Michael Young is having a less than average year. It’s also no secret that Michael Young works hard and does what he can for this team. However, Michael Young had not had a start at shortstop in four years. He’s also played the last 48 games with no days off for rest, while players like Josh Hamilton and Ian Kinsler are forced to take them. He could have used a day off with Alberto Gonzalez at shortstop, and maybe even Mike Olt at DH, so Soto is free to come off the bench as a catcher replacement if needed. My personal opinion is that Wash is using Michael Young wrong, and if Young continues to decline, fans could really turn on someone they’ve loved for so long. Young shouldn’t be used in positions he’s not comfortable playing, especially if there is a better option.

I am a Ron Washington fan. I think he does more great things for the morale of this team than any manager could. I think the World Series doesn’t happen twice without him. There are decisions he makes, however, that are too risky to be worth the reward. Sure, the squeeze could have worked, but was it necessary? No, not at all. Yeah, Michael Young did nothing at shortstop to help lose the game against the Red Sox, but was he the best option? Not at all. In the end, managers have little to do with the actual talent on the field, but it is their job to put the best team they can on that field every day, and trust in that team to produce. I just feel that wasn’t what happened in the past two games.

Emily Cates is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. You can reach her at Emily.Cates@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter at @EmLikesBaseball.
Emily Cates

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