Jeff Banister is already showing the big differences between himself and longtime Rangers manager Ron Washington, and they're all good so far.
God love Ron Washington, and he had his pros as a big-league manager — obvious from his title as the franchise's all-time winningest manager and the only Rangers manager to win a playoff series much less go to two straight World Series. But he also had his critics, and they were deserving of their beliefs.
The main knocks on Washington were his hatred of analytics and using his bench and his extreme loyalty to veteran stars.
Banister is already showing the opposite of all of those things.
On Thursday before the Rangers exploded for 10 runs in Oakland, Banister's lineup card had some alarming things on it. Elvis Andrus, who Ron Washington would've penciled into the 2-hole in his sleep, was hitting seventh, and Shin-Soo Choo was hitting second.
“I believe in our guys; this is not a non-production situation,” manager Jeff Banister told The Dallas Morning News before the game and the 10-run outburst. “It’s more of a let’s find where our performance best fits with each other. Every hitter impacts everybody else. Let’s find the best rhythm for us right now.
“Spring was an education for me and the process continues as the season begins,” Banister added. “We haven’t had a lot of run-scoring opportunities. I’m putting a guy who has traditionally been a high OBP guy up there to see if what it looks like.”
Turns out, the changes worked, at least for one day. We'll see what lineup Banister rolls out Friday, but if it works as well as Thursday's, the Rangers will be in business.