I'm not against resting starting players after a team has clinched a playoff spot by any means. The season is long and in Texas it's especially hot and taxing. Of course over a 162 game season players are going to battle minor injuries and of course these players should be spelled headed into the playoffs.â†µ
Except for last night.â†µ
The Rangers were going up against Felix Hernandez who not only is a an AL Cy Young candidate, he is easily the most deserving of the award in the American League. He's simply been the best pitcher in the American League and perhaps all of baseball in 2010. Ron Washington had a chance for the Rangers core players to face the leagues best pitcher in the week prior to the ALDS yet chose to rest Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Vladimir Guerrero.â†µ
I completely understand and support the notion of resting the important pieces of the lineup in preparation for the playoffs. But is there better preparation for October pitching than getting game at bats against the AL's top pitcher? Granted, Hernandez isn't a lefty and the Rangers will be facing a lefty ace either in the form of CC Sabathia or David Price but that's irrelevant. Hernandez is a superior talent to both Sabathia and Price but they feature similar enough repertoires. Hernandez and Sabathia both have good to great sliders and changeups while Price's wFB is similar to Hernandez's (Price 20.2, Hernandez 24.4).â†µ
Facing Hernandez would have been good preparation for the playoffs for guys like Andrus, Kinsler, Young and Guerrero. Washington could easily have rested them today - a day game following a night game but chose to trot out a lineup full of spares and Nelson Cruz last night.â†µ
This won't make or break the Rangers playoff fate but I still would have liked to see the Rangers real lineup face Hernandez last night rather than the AAAA platter.