- I enjoy absorbing playoff series projections and previews as much as the next guy, but at this point they hold very little meaning. I will say that the effusive praise from the Rangers' clubhouse for Ron Washington -- and, more specifically, the players' frequently stated belief that Washington does a great job of keeping them even-keeled and readily able to rebound -- makes me feel pretty damn good about what the next 72 hours holds in store for this team, and that they backed it up with a resounding victory in their lone ALDS elimination game lends further credibility to the notion that Washington is a better fit as a playoff manager than most believed.
Well, I never figured Washington was managing the Rangers because he was a brilliant tactician. When he was coaching in Oakland, I got the impression the players loved him, and I figured that's mostly what he brought to the table as manager of the Rangers. When the whole drugs thing happened, I think the fear was that Washington would lose the players ... and you can't manage if you don't have the players. I don't care how smart you are.
I don't watch the Rangers every day, so I'm really not qualified to pass judgment on Washington's tactical acumen. I haven't made any secret about not being real impressed with him over these past couple of weeks. Which doesn't mean he's not a highly skilled manager of men ... probably a more valuable skill than knowing when to order the sacrifice bunt or the intentional walk.
Granted, I still think his refusal to use his best reliever in a non-save situation is going to cost him a big win someday. Another one, I mean. Maybe not this weekend, or even this year. But someday.