ARLINGTON, Texas -- After reflecting on how the 2012 season ended, manager Ron Washington acknowledged that if he had the chance to do something over again, he would have rested his regulars more before the stretch run.
"Maybe I played them into the ground," Washington said.
It was a Rangers team that looked tired at times -- mentally and physically -- when the season was on the line in late September and early October. Washington noted that some of his regulars had played more games in 2012 than they had in any season in their careers.
"My regulars were healthy and they were able to go out there, but if I can look back now, maybe I could have done something in the middle of the season where I could have given them some time down," Washington said. "My everyday guys, I rode them, man."
As we discussed Monday, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus played the most games of their careers. Adrian Beltre played 156 games, his most since 2006. No team in baseball played more games in the two previous seasons than Texas, and that included many of the club's regulars who were called upon in the final weeks of the season.
"My part of it was to make sure that those guys were ready to go down the stretch and undoubtedbly they weren't," Washington said. "I take the blame for that."
General manager Jon Daniels said he appreciated Washington saying that, but added that there were a lot of factors that contributed to the club's collapse. Texas lost nine of its last 13 games and blew a five-game lead with nine to play (and a four-game lead with six to play) in the AL West before losing Friday's AL wild-card game.
Washington said he would have found a way to play more of the younger players and rotated things more to get his regulars rest in July and August so that when September rolled around and they faced key games, especially those in the division, they would have had more energy.
"Each year you learn something," Washington said. "What was the reason we weren't clicking down the stretch? Everybody tried to say, 'Well, they quit.' There's no quit in that clubhouse. That's out. We just didn't get it done. We just didn't get it done."