Ron Washington has received plenty of questions and heat for his managerial performance at times in the Rangers' second-straight World Series loss, which culminated with Game 7 on Friday night and capped the Rangers' greatest season ever that still ended with a loss.
And that's all fair. There was a lot to question Washington on.
But let's set the record straight, Ron Washington didn't lose the World Series. His players did.
Yes, people should question why Neftali Feliz wasn't brought back in for the 10th inning in the Game 6 collapse that will live in infamy. People could also question why Scott Feldman was left in to pitch to Lance Berkman in the game when Berkman is clearly better batting from the left side.
You can question why Washington pinch-hit Esteban German not once, but twice in the series, until you're blue in the face.
But is it fair to ask Washington the following questions?
Why did the pitching staff completely fold up shop in the postseason? We know the Rangers don't have a true ace, despite the flirtation with the idea of C.J. Wilson being the ace in the regular season. But sample size with the five starters in the regular season was significant, and they were effective. In the playoffs? Not so much. The bullpen was overworked in the first two rounds, which reared its ugly head in the World Series. Aside from Colby Lewis and one gem by Derek Holland, the starting pitching was awful throughout the postseason and the offense couldn't bail them out against the St. Louis Cardinals.
What on Earth happened to Mike Adams and Koji Uehara? When the Rangers acquired Adams from San Diego and Uehara from Baltimore at the trade deadline, it was supposed to transform the Rangers bullpen and make it the league's best. We were teased for a bit but when it came pressure time, both, most notably Uehara, folded. Adams was OK, but he wasn't brought here to be OK. He was brought here to be a lockdown guy in the eighth inning, which he wasn't.
What happened to Josh Hamilton and Michael Young? We know Hamilton was playing at anywhere between 50-70 percent and started to get things right in the final few games of the season. He had a potentially storybook home run in Game 6 in the 10th inning, which for about 10 minutes had Rangers fans floating on Cloud 9. Young, on the other hand, was just awful. The team's cleanup hitter, Young hit .229 in the postseason with 12 RBIs. Keep in mind, five of those RBIs came in Game 6 of the ALCS.
So there you have it. Yes, Washington deserves heat and blame, but there are plenty of other people to pass the buck to as well. It's no fluke that this team has been to two straight World Series. That just doesn't happen very often. A bad manager wouldn't have accomplished that. Part of managing a baseball team is getting guys to play for you and believe in you, and Washington is arguably the best in the game at that.