Rangers Can’t Do That Again

In the grand scheme of things, Vladimir Guerrero didn’t matter last night. The Giants would have won that game no matter who was playing right field. But after watching Guerrero stumble around, Washington cannot put him back in the field this series. Right? Maybe not.

“No, I don’t,” Washington said when asked if he’ll have to reconsider the idea of using Guerrero in the field with the designated hitter not in effect. “A couple balls got by him.”

That is one way to describe what happened when the ball was hit his way. I think most people would go with something a bit more accurate, like “That was the worst outfield defense anyone has ever played.” This wasn’t just a ball dropping in that we think Murphy could have gotten to – last night was simply confirmation that Vladimir Guerrero should never wear a glove again.

The first inning pop-up that Kinsler caught and turned into a double play was a routine fly ball – Guerrero wasn’t anywhere close to it. If the Rangers’ second baseman doesn’t make a tremendous play, the Giants would have been on the scoreboard in the first inning. Then there were the obvious¬†miscues – the inability to cut off a ball down the line; the horrifying misplay of Renteria’s base hit that gave him two extra bases; and then kicking around the ball in the corner. It was painful to watch. And, if Ron Washington is trying to win this series, we can’t see it again.

Joe has¬†already laid out the case for why David Murphy is a better player against right-handers than Guerrero, and that should be fairly obvious to everyone at this point – he hit better against RHP this year, and the defensive gap is enormous. Guerrero’s problems are probably big enough that it would be smarter to start Jeff Francoeur or Julio Borbon over Guerrero if they were the only option.

Last night, Guerrero playing the field didn’t change the outcome. Tonight, or in Game 6 and 7, it could. The Rangers do not have the luxury of hoping that Guerrero’s inability to field the position doesn’t end up costing them games. It’s the World Series – put your best team on the field and give yourself the best chance to win.

The Rangers best team does not include Vladimir Guerrero wearing a glove.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Jeff Wise
11 years ago

Wow! Those were some serious errors! You’re right, for last night’s game it didn’t matter I suppose. In a one or two run game? Absolutely!