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Tag:Ron Washington
Posted on: January 30, 2012 4:51 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 5:07 pm
 

Rangers give Washington 2-year extension



By Matt Snyder


The Rangers have agreed to a two-year contract extension with manager Ron Washington. Washington was signed through the upcoming 2012 season, so he's now locked up through 2014.

Rangers offseason
Washington's track record in his five seasons as a manager is very impressive. The Rangers have improved every single season under him. Washington started with a 75-87 record in 2007, then won 79 games in 2008 and 87 in 2009. In 2010, they won 90 in the regular season, winning the AL West championship. They then took down the Rays in the ALDS for the first postseason series victory in club history. But they weren't done, as they also won the ALCS over the Yankees, advancing to the World Series for the first time in club history.

Then, in 2011, Washington continued his improvement. The Rangers won a club-record 96 games and came within one strike of winning the World Series.

Washington, 59, is now 427-383 at the helm, good for a .527 winning percentage. In terms of full-time managers, only Billy Hunter (.575 in just two seasons) was better for the Rangers. Washington also ranks third in total wins for Rangers managers, trailing Bobby Valentine (581) and Johnny Oates (506). With three more seasons under contract, Washington should cruise to the franchise record, as he's only 154 wins away from Valentine.

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Posted on: January 20, 2012 10:19 pm
 

Photos: Yu Darvish introduced in Texas



By C. Trent Rosecrans

It wasn't quite Beatlemania, but Yumania hit the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex on Friday, as newest Rangers Yu Darvish was introduced to the Rangers' media and fans at Rangers Ballpark on Friday.

The press conference was telecast live in Darvish's native Japan

Darvish said he had "no worries" and was made to feel at home with the Rangers when he visited Nolan Ryan earlier this month. He also said he read a book on Ryan and will try to adjust to the Texas heat. He also said he wants to learn English, though he will use an interpreter. Darvish said he would return to Japan and be back in the United States by the Feb. 22 reporting date.

As Kevin Kaduk at Big League Stew noted, that was not a marijuana leaf on Darvish's shirt as he left the airport, instead it was a Japanese maple leaf, which looks similar to a pot leaf.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 4:54 pm
 

Including playoffs, La Russa top manager



By C. Trent Rosecrans

At last year's Winter Meetings in Orlando there was a motion during the Baseball Writers Association of America's meeting to change the voting for the Manager of the Year Award until after the playoffs. The resolution was overwhelmingly voted down, but it did get me to thinking how Wednesday's choices would have been different had the voting taken place at the end of October rather than the end of September.

For the record, I voted against the measure. I believe the true test of a manager is over 162 games, while the playoffs can sometimes be a crapshoot with moves sometimes magnified more on whether they worked or not, rather than how things often even out over the course of a full season. Heck, the past postseason has turned managers from genius to idiot back to genius in the course of a single series.

Award Season
Kirk GibsonKirk Gibson overwhelmingly won the National League Manager of the Year award, getting 28 of 32 first-place votes. Joe Maddon won the AL award, getting 26 of 28 first-place votes.
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In the American League, Maddon probably still would have won the award, regardless of when the vote was taken (as long as it was after the regular season, he was kind of an afterthought at the beginning of September). In the playoffs, the Rays fell to the Rangers in four games, but it was through no fault of Maddon's. Nobody expected the Rays to go on to the World Series, and they didn't.

None of the three other managers in the American League playoffs -- Texas' Ron Washington, New York's Joe Girardi or Detroit's Jim Leyland -- were seen as having great postseasons, or even good ones. Washington is always criticized for playing his hunches -- including starting Matt Harrison in Game 7 -- while Leyland didn't just Justin Verlander on short rest and engaged in a bunt-fest with Girardi that nearly broke Twitter, meaning Maddon wouldn't have to worry about giving up his crown if the voting were moved.

Had the voting been done after the playoffs, the National League winner would have certainly been different. After leading his underdog Diamondbacks to the playoffs, Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was the overwhelming winner in the National League Manager of the Year award, but just a less than two weeks after 28 of 32 ballots (mine included, for the record) had Gibson on top of their ballots, it might not have been such an easy choice.

While Maddon won the American League award based in part because of the Rays' late run to the playoffs, La Russa did the same in the National League and still finished third in the voting. Maddon's Rays were 9 1/2 games out of the wild card on Sept. 2, while La Russa's Cardinals were the 8 1/2 behind the Braves on that same date and went 17-7 over the rest of the season, winning the wild card on the final day.

La Russa added to that resume in the postseason when the Cardinals made an underdog run to the franchise's 11th World Series title. Along the way he was praised for the handling of his team's pitching staff up until a communication breakdown with his bullpen in Game 5 of the World Series in Texas. At that point, the so-called smartest man in baseball looked clueless and was called worse. Two more wins salvaged that reputation before La Russa retired on top.

Meanwhile, Gibson was roundly criticized for his perceived overaggressiveness early in the series, including a decision to pitch to Prince Fielder in a Game 1 loss. Gibson was then praised after pulling starter Joe Saunders in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Diamondbacks in a win. Overall, the Diamondbacks didn't lose the series because of Gibson's managing, but he did come out with his reputation taking a bit of a hit following the first five postseason games of his managerial career.

Despite the bullpen phone mixup in Texas, there's zero doubt La Russa would have added his fifth Manager of the Year award to his collection had the voting taken place after the playoffs. While Gibson shouldn't be making apologies for winning the Manager of the Year on Wednesday, it's unlikely he'd have it if the voting were done later -- but I'm pretty sure La Russa wouldn't trade his 2011 trophy for the one Gibson' received.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 7:11 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 7:14 pm
 

Rangers employee leaked Washington's speech

Ron WashingtonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers have found the culprit of the leak of Ron Washington's pregame speech before Game 7 of the World Series, but have not said whether that employee was fired, according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The employee, a member of the team's traveling support staff, sent it to a friend, who then sent it on with it ending up on the website JoeSportsFan.com, a blog for a St. Louis radio station on Sunday.

"It's unacceptable," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told the newspaper. "It's a private meeting for the team, and a privilege to be a part of and a privilege to be in the clubhouse and have access to it. Very poor judgment. That's not what the meeting was for."

The speech contained quite a few nasty words from Washington, along with speeches from Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz. Washington urged his team to move on from the Game 6 loss and stick together to beat the Cardinals in Game 7.

Washington was reportedly at home in New Orleans this weekend with his mother, Fannie Washington, who died on Sunday at 90.

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Posted on: November 6, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2011 3:12 pm
 

Ron Washington's Game 7 pregame speech leaked

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You ever want to be in a clubhouse before Game 7 of the World Series? Well, the website JoeSportsFan.com has you covered, as they were able to get an audio recording of Rangers manager Ron Washington's pre game speech to his team.

Warning -- there is quite a bit of explicit language, do not click if you're easily (or even moderately) offended by bad language, including the F word and several other naughty words.

Things didn't turn out like Washington or his team wanted, but you can see why his players like him. I'm sure some fans -- especially Cardinals fans -- will take issue with things he said, but keep in mind this is supposed to be private and between just the players and coaches, it's not supposed to be for public consumption, even if now the public is consuming it.

H/T: @drewsilv 

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:28 am
Edited on: October 29, 2011 4:02 am
 

Grading Game 7 of the World Series



By Matt Snyder


ST. LOUIS -- Game 7 of the World Series wasn't nearly as exciting as Game 6, but was that even possible? I'd say no. We still saw a good game for about six innings and Cardinals fans certainly have no issue with how everything went down. Let's grade the game, just as we've done with the other six.

The Cardinals bullpen. Once Chris Carpenter was out of the game, it felt like the Rangers might have a shot at creeping up and at least making this game close. Instead, Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel, Lance Lynn and Jason Motte were dominant and efficient for three innings, leaving no doubt who the champions were. The four pitchers combined to retire all nine of the hitters they saw, needing only 34 pitches to do so. While we're here, all Cardinals players are obviously elated and deserved congratulations, but how about Arthur Rhodes? He's 42, made his major-league debut in 1991, was cut by the Rangers earlier this season and had never even pitched in the World Series until this season. Now he has a ring that he earned (yes, he would have gotten one had the Rangers won, but that's really not the same).

I did name Carpenter the hero and he deserves major kudos for getting the job done on three days' rest, and, even more so, for doing it without his best stuff. But that latter part is what knocks him down to a B. He allowed the first four batters on base and, had Yadier Molina not picked Ian Kinsler off first, the damage could have been far worse. Carpenter himself would admit an outing where he gives up six hits and two walks in six innings is a B for himself, I'm sure. No shame in this B, though. It's like having the flu and not studying for two days leading up to a test and still getting a B. You'd be ecstatic with it. Just as Carpenter surely is with his outing.

The Michael Young Schism has already been noted by my esteemed colleague Gregg Doyel. Friday night, we once again saw the good and the bad. Young doubled in Josh Hamilton in the first inning, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead with no one out. But Young would follow that up with two strikeouts and a pop out. Defensively, Young looked horrible in trying to snare a foul ball pop up, but seconds later made a nice diving stab of a line drive to end the inning.

Poor Ron Washington seemed to have every move he made blow up in his face. On the big stage, Matt Harrison seemed rattled from the get-go, Scott Feldman was brutal, C.J. Wilson hit the first batter he faced -- forcing in a run since the bases were loaded -- a bunt wasted an out in the fifth and Washington just never changed his lineup. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa switched things around in Game 7 as a reaction to how his team had been playing and it worked. Judging manager is mostly second-guessing, but things didn't seem to work out for Washington, so he gets a D.

Why were the Rangers' pitchers trying to help the Cardinals so much? Falling behind in counts to most hitters, walking six guys, hitting two guys, serving up meatballs when they did work within the strike zone. Iit was a veritable clinic on how to not pitch anyone -- much less a good-hitting ballclub like St. Louis. Mike Gonzalez and Alexi Ogando were fine, but the game was over by then. Harrison, Feldman, Wilson and Mike Adams dug a hole while the Cardinals' pitchers buried the Rangers' season.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 3:18 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 4:25 am
 

Overheard: Notes, quotes from World Series Game 6


By Matt Snyder


ST. LOUIS -- Here are some of the post-game notes and quotes from Busch Stadium after an epic Game 6 of the World Series.

• Wrap your head around this one. Other than his historic Game 3 performance, Albert Pujols was 0-for-16 in the series until his ninth-inning double. But he did double. Still, in light of that, would Rangers manager Ron Washington have been better served to try and pitch to Pujols in the 10th inning with Berkman set to face a right-hander (the switch-hitting Berkman is a much more dangerous hitter from the left side)? I personally would have put Pujols on, but it didn't work, so Washington is sure to be second-guessed.

World Series Coverage
• Washington on being one strike away from the championship twice: "Well, you know, I understand that it's not over until you get the last out, and I was just sitting there praying that we'd get that last out, and we didn't get it. And you have to tip your hat to the Cardinals, the way they fought tonight and took the game from us."

Lance Berkman, on dreaming of coming through in a big spot in the World Series when you're a kid: "When you're a little kid and you're out there, you don't have a bunch of reporters and fans that are ready to call you a choking dog if you don't come through. (Laughter) So when you're a kid, you don't realize what a big moment that is. I'm just going to caution all little kids out there, be careful what you wish for."

• Did anyone notice none of the Rangers' three bunt attempts would have worked if Fernando Salas didn't make a throwing error?

• "If it's going to be replayed over and over again, I don't know, but it's really cool to be a part of this and to force a Game 7." -- David Freese, when told that his home run would be replayed forever.

• This is the first time since 2002 a World Series has gone all seven games. In the previous 36 instances a World Series went the distance, the home team won 19 times.

• Berkman on being one strike away from making the last out in a possible loss: "I actually felt pretty good about it because I figured I was in a no-lose situation. If you don't come through right there, it's only one at-bat and it's over with, and they might talk about it for a couple days, but it's not that big a deal. If you come through, it's the greatest, and plus you've built a little bank account of being able to come through, so that if I don't come through tomorrow I can be like, 'Well, I came through in Game 6, what do you want from me?'"

• The last time we saw a Game 6 or later walk-off home run in the World Series before Thursday night? Joe Carter in Toronto in 1993.

• The 2011 Cardinals and Rangers are now the top two teams ever in terms of postseason pitching changes. The Cardinals have the record with 71, while the Rangers are second with 65. The previous record was 62 by the 2002 Giants.

• "We'll bounce back tomorrow," Washington said. "We've been in some tough situations before. We've always responded, and I expect us to respond tomorrow." Also note the Rangers haven't lost two games in a row since August.

• The two teams combined for five errors and 23 men left on base. So, yeah, there were plenty of missed opportunities by each.

• Cardinals manager Tony La Russa on Matt Holliday's status: "Well, we thought at first he had fractured it, but I was told by the trainer later on that it's not a fracture, but I think it's swelling, and he's got a pretty good bruise there. So it may be we need to replace him for tomorrow."

• The attendance (47,325) was a Busch Stadium record. The previous record was Game 3 of the 2009 NLDS against the Dodgers.

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Posted on: October 26, 2011 7:10 pm
 

La Russa, Washington talk 'Moneyball' on day off

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- With the unexpected night off, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he is finally going to see "Moneyball," the movie depicting A's general manager Billy Beane's approach leading up to and during the 2002 season. La Russa also gave a cautionary tale about being overly reliant on the walks part of on-base percentage.

"On-base percentage is one of the most dangerous concepts of the last seven, eight years because it forces some executives and coaches and players to think that it's all about getting on base by drawing walks, and the fact is that the guys that have the best on-base percentage are really dangerous hitters whenever they get a pitch in the strike zone," La Russa said.

La Russa was discussing how important it is for hitters to jump on the first pitch if it's a good hitter's pitch, because they might not see another good one to hit the rest of the at-bat. He wasn't saying he's against working the count or batters taking walks; instead saying that focusing too much on the walks might hurt the offense in taking too many good pitches to hit.

As far as the movie itself? "Brad Pitt is a great actor," La Russa said.

Rangers manager Ron Washington is actually a character in the movie, most notably the one with the line "it's tremendously hard," after Beane (Pitt) said to Scott Hatteberg, "first base isn't that hard, tell him, Wash." Washington was also asked about the movie Wednesday, and he's already seen it. Did that exchange with Beane, Washington and Scott Hatteberg actually happen, or was it just a Hollywood throw-in?

"Yes, it did, but it happened in Phoenix," Washington said. The scene in the movie took place in Hatteberg's house before the A's even signed him, not spring training.

"I've always been a matter-of-fact guy, and I just point-blank told Hatteberg that it's going to be difficult."

Washington also acknowledged what the movie neglected to: "I realize they didn't mention Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada, (Barry) Zito, (Tim) Hudson, (Mark) Mulder, but that wasn't what it was about."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com