Ron Washington has a strange way of holding Elvis Andrus to a different standard than the rest of his teams, and almost always has. It was only a month ago when I wrote about Wash's mishandling of Elvis in the lineup -- dropping him from 2nd to 9th in the order -- so, strangely, I felt like Ron making an example out of Andrus wouldn't happen again for awhile.
I was wrong.
In Evan Grant's article -- posted around game time -- he wrote:
The Tuesday game came after a scheduled day off for the entire time, meaning that Andrus looked “sluggish,” immediately after a day off.
“It could have been the day off that made him sluggish,” Washington said. “There’s no rhyme or reason why. I just felt like he needed a day off.”
As Evan later went on to write, Elvis's benching on Wednesday was, in all likelihood, spawned from an 0-5 night at the plate on Tuesday. That, and a couple questionable plays in the field.
Now, sure, there's a chance Ron Washington's decision to sit Andrus after such a poor game on Tuesday was completely innocuous. Given the history of their relationship, I have to think that chance is small, and the fact that Andrus admitted he "wasn’t sure why he was out of the lineup and said he didn’t feel like he needed a day" only further adds to my doubts.
Is this another of Ron Washington's teaching moments? And, if so, what point is he still trying to get across to Elvis Andrus after all these years?
See, this isn't little league; this isn't high school or college; this isn't even the Bakersfield Blaze or Frisco Rough Riders; Elvis has seen every level there is to see, and has been the best player on the field for the entire journey. Since being a teenager he's been groomed by skilled professionals to one day play baseball at the highest level, and since 2007 when the Rangers got him from Atlanta he's been groomed to be the franchise shortstop. By this point, there aren't any secrets about his game... he's a classic light-hitting shortstop with good speed and great defense. He's one of the best players on one of the most talent-laden teams in MLB.
This is why I'm genuinely puzzled by Wash in how critical he is and seemingly always has been of Elvis, especially since they've been working towards the same goal since Andrus's rookie season. It's like there's a standard he has for Elvis specifically, and something different for the other 24 guys. The only other player that's come even remotely close to experiencing this double standard during Ron Washington's tenure as manager has been Derek Holland, which also never made sense.
The players in the Rangers clubhouse -- as well as every other clubhouse in baseball -- have been training their entire lives to be in this position. They don't need a daddy to punish them after having a bad game, or dropping them to the bottom of the order after a poor 50 at-bat sample size.
I don't write this because I want a different Rangers' manager, because I don't. I might be drunk, but I'm convinced this is the right man for this team.
But if you're Ron Washington and you want to get a point across, it shouldn't be at the expense of one of your best players.