I was uneasy with Vlad Guerrero playing right field before Game 1. Afterwards? Ye Gods, don’t let this happen again, Ron Washington. Vlad was hell on wheels in the outfield last night. And not round wheels. Square, stone wheels like something you’d see on the Flintstones.
Among the highlights:
- First inning, Buster Posey at the plate. Posey hit a shallow fly ball. Guerrero came nowhere near it. Thank goodness for Ian Kinsler who busted out from second base to get that, as if he were given a memo before the game that he was supposed to play both second and right. He turned a double play on that one, but it could have been disastrous. And yes, maybe that was a matter of coaching — Guerrero was playing deep — but he was probably playing so deep because the Rangers knew he couldn’t go back on anything and wanted to avoid balls over his head;
- In the eighth, He charged Edgar Renteria’s single, but gave it the Roger Dorn ole treatment, allowing it to roll to the wall and putting Renteria on third;
- Three batters later was maybe the worst image of the night: Freddy Sanchez hit one that dropped into the bullpen. Vlad was shaky enough getting over to it, but then couldn’t find the handle, allowing Sanchez to go to second. It was originally scored a double, but the beat writers who were at the game and on Twitter said that everyone in the press box was absolutely howling at the official scorer on that one. They were right to howl, and he quickly changed it to a single and an error.
Beyond those plays he just looked slow and kind of sad. Misplayed hops. Bobbled balls. Jogging into the corner. I started making my usual Fred Sanford jokes during the live chat and people started defending Fred Sanford from such a vile association.
But I don’t mean for this to be a pile-on on Guerrero. I think he was trying his hardest. It’s just that his hardest is nowhere near good enough. Not for the World Series. Not in that outfield. He may have done worse than expected, but the expectations shouldn’t have been high.
Ultimately, Ron Washington didn’t put Guerrero in a position to succeed. It didn’t cost the Rangers the game — there were a lot of other things that went wrong — but it cost a lot to fans in psychic terms, what with having a player who struck us with awe for so many years fumble around feebly. I always thought the old timers who talk about Willie Mays in the 1973 World Series were overstating how bad it was, but now I know how painful this sort of thing can be.
The worst part: Ron Washington said after the game that Vlad is going back out there tonight. For the love of God, I hope someone talks him out of it today.