Rangers set ALCS rotation, Wilson going in Game 1

1 Comment

Rangers manager Ron Washington revealed his ALCS rotation on Wednesday in a chat with the media.  MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan has all of the details, quotes, and a roster change that involves speedy infielder Esteban German.  (Hint: he’s been cut).

Because staff ace Cliff Lee was needed to go the distance in Tuesday’s ALDS Game 5 victory over the Rays, the left-hander will not pitch in the second round against the Yankees until Game 3.  That will leave C.J. Wilson to start Game 1 and Colby Lewis to take on the Yanks in Game 2.

Tommy Hunter, 24, will probably start in Game 4, unless the Rangers are completely backed against a wall.

Wilson was converted from a setup role at the beginning of this season and posted astonishingly great results throughout 2010, never showing a sign of fatigue.  He finished with a 15-8 record, a 3.35 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over 33 regular-season starts and fired off 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his lone ALDS outing against Tampa Bay.

Lewis was signed out of a Japanese professional baseball league last winter and had a 3.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 196/65 K/BB ratio over 32 starts in his first year back in the states.  He threw five scoreless innings in Game 3 of the ALDS on Saturday.

Mike Rizzo and Shawn Kelley almost got into a physical confrontation

Getty Images
15 Comments

A few weeks back the Washington Nationals designated reliever Shawn Kelley for assignment the morning after he threw his glove into the ground and glared at the Nats dugout in frustration after giving up a homer in a blowout win against the Mets. He was later traded to the Athletics. Nats GM Mike Rizzo said at that time that he thought Kelley was trying to show up his manager and that there was no room for that sort of thing on the team, offering an “either you’re with us or you’re working against us” sentiment in the process.

Today the Washington Post talks about all of the Nationals’ bullpen woes of late, and touches on the departure of Kelley as being part of the problem. In so doing, we learn that, on the night of Kelley’s mound tantrum, he and Rizzo almost got into a physical confrontation:

Rizzo headed down to the clubhouse and confronted Kelley, according to people familiar with the situation. The argument became heated, including raised voices, and eventually it almost became physical, according to people familiar with the exchange. Adam Eaton got between the two of them and separated them before things could advance further . . .

Might I point out that, the fact of this emerging now helps to vindicate Brandon Kintzler who, the day before, was traded away, some say, for being the source for negative reports from inside the Nats’ clubhouse?

That aside, the article does not make anyone look good, really. Rizzo had the backing of his team with the Kelley incident, but the overall story — how did the Nats’ bullpen, which was once a strength — get so bad? — does no favors for Rizzo. Mostly because he seems to have thought that they had so much extra bullpen depth that they could afford to deal away Kintzler, which he says was a financial move, not a punitive trade for being a media source.

Question: when was the last time you heard a baseball man say he had too much relief pitching? Especially today, in which the bullpen has assumed such a prominent role? Seems rather unreasonable to cut relievers when you’re trying mightily to come back from a sizable deficit in the standings, yes?