Ron Washington Pinch Hit Leonys Martin Over Lance Berkman Yesterday, Just So You Know

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Ron Washington: Keeping them fresh.
A few days after the Rangers sputtered into last off-season, running on fumes and whatever was left of Josh Hamilton's CRUNK!!! stash, manager Ron Washington said what many fans and pundits had already said: "Maybe I played them into the ground."

Seven of his starters played 147 games or more last season; five played at least 155. In the end, Wash said, it caused the offense to flatline down the stretch: "We just never had enough guys in the lineup hitting on the cylinders at the same time."

Not this year, though. This year, Wash is getting his guys rest. Like yesterday, when, in a day game after a night game, he opted to sit Lance Berkman. Berkman is hitting .484 with seven RBIs, but he's also 37. Most 37-year-olds get winded taking out the recycling. (Don't they?) This was a decision caked in logic.

Then came the eighth inning.

See also:
Ron Washington Goes Off Rangers' Script, Admits Running Team "Into the Ground"

The Rangers, up 2-0 in the series, were down 2-0 in the game. But the comeback was afoot. Adrian Beltre singled and David Murphy doubled, putting runners at second and third with one out.

The pitcher, Joel Peralta, was a righty, so the scheduled Rangers hitter, right-handed Jeff Baker, was dispatched to the dugout, to be replaced by a lefty. But which one?

Wash must have looked so longingly at Berkman, that fellow student of the old school. In his last full season, 2011, Berkman killed right-handed pitching, hitting .307 with an OPS nearing 1.000. He hit 27 of his 31 homeruns against right-handers that season.

But Wash's gaze eventually landed on young Leonys Martin, who in his short career has hit right-handed pitching almost as bad as he's hit left-handed pitching.

Martin flied out to right field, and when Beltre was thrown out at home, the rally, and the sweep, died. Wash defended the decision in an interview with an ESPN reporter who happens to be conversant in Washspeak.

"He was available if I wanted to," Washington said of Berkman. "But my manager's choice. I gave him the full day off."

Look, whatever: It's only April. Everyone knows these games count less.



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8 comments
Americano
Americano

Berkman was a rookie once.  Someone (Art Howe maybe) let him hit until he figured it out.  That's the way baseball go.

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Got a little lucky Monday night, played a little conservative Wednesday..Baseballball has a way of evening out.  Also, I don't want a non-warmed up 37 yo (that we are sooooo counting/depending on) coming into a game right there.  Meh, 1 of 162.

russell.allison1
russell.allison1

No problem with either of the move to sit Berkman (if's he's fresh in September it will have worked) and sending Beltre in April will mean a bad throw by the other team later in the season.  He's setting the table for play-offs.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

I could go either way on it. Martin was a big spark plug Tuesday night so you can justify it that way.

I imagine though that Wash breathed a huge sigh of relief that Nolan announced that he was staying as CEO. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

I thought the same thing, but you know, at some point he has to count on his young guys, and the only way to find out about them is to let them hit in pressure situations.  Did the outcome suck, sure, but its baseball and they get to go out and do it again tonight.

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

Martin had two hits, a walk, and a deep fly out to center field, while scoring three runs; all against right handed pitching in the previous night's game. 

Martin hit .359 last year in Round Rock. I know Triple-A is not the same as the majors but I have no problem with Wash considering Martin's previous game performance over his 2013 total 19 plate appearance statistics in deciding to keep team MVP contender Berkman's 37 year old knees out of the cold weather. 

Hindsight is 20/20. 

joe.tone
joe.tone moderator

@PersistentID2345 @scottsmerkin Hindsight is definitely 20/20, and Martin's never going to get better if he doesn't get those at-bats. I don't hate the move. I just thought it was an interesting moment, especially in light of last year's workload issues.

Could probably raise a question about sending Beltre too, no?


ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@joe.tone you could, but if we are going to believe that Ron is going to stick to his guns this year, he said they were going back to being more aggressive on the bases, that was a situation where you get aggressive, the guy just mad a perfect throw

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