OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 21: Kevin Kouzmanoff #6 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by Elvis Andrus #1 (L) and manager Ron Washington #38 (R) after Kouzmanoff scored against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the eighth inning at O.co Coliseum on April 21, 2014 in Oakland, California. Kouzmanoff scored on a Donnie Murphy RBI single. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
The Texas Rangers have never faced such dire circumstances since Ron Washington took over as the team's manager prior to the 2007 season.
Injury after injury after injury in April and May, and to huge, key parts of the team, including season-enders to Martin Perez, Matt Harrison, Prince Fielder and quite possibly Jurickson Profar. Derek Holland, the team's projected No. 2 starter won't make his season debut until sometime in mid-June, if things go well. And he's had to roll with guys in his lineup like Josh Wilson, Donnie Murphy, and most recently a 20-year-old prospect.
Yet, here we sit nearly a third of the way through the season, and the Rangers are somehow a game over .500 with Yu Darvish on the mound Tuesday night and within a game-and-a-half of an AL Wild Card spot.
You can thank Ron Washington for a lot of that.
Sure, the Rangers' fearless leader takes a lot of heat from both fans and baseball minds, alike, for his in-game management, most notably his handling of the bullpen and his affinity for the second-inning sac bunt. And a lot of that heat is well-deserved.
But one thing you can never question about Washington, who is known for being loyal to a fault to his veteran players, is the fact that players absolutely love playing for him and will run through the proverbial wall for the guy.
In all of baseball, there might not be a better manager at getting the 25 guys he's given to play hard and keep focus on the situation at hand, no matter the circumstances.
And if there were ever a season Washington has done that, it has to be this year.
Sure, the Rangers very well could finish the season 15 games below .500 and we wouldn't even blink an eye. The injuries the club has faced have been devastating and they're in a division with what appear to be three other decent teams, including one that is great (the A's) and one that seems to have rediscovered some of its mojo (the Angels).
But the fact the Rangers are where they are at this point, with all that's happened, is quite remarkable, and Washington deserves a lot of credit for it.
Wash showing his merit, getting all 25 to play hard and keep focus no matter situation