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Wash's Wisdom: Resting two regulars?

5/16/2012

ARLINGTON, Texas – Don’t hold your breath waiting for Ron Washington to express regret for resting two regulars in each loss to the Royals.

Washington certainly didn’t second-guess himself after keeping Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli out of the lineup for Monday’s loss. Tuesday’s lineup, which didn’t include the sizzling duo of Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz, made that clear.

"I've still got a potent lineup," Washington said before Tuesday’s loss. "I've got enough. If I do one at a time, it will take forever. This is important.”

The leftovers lineups didn’t exactly back up Washington. The Rangers scored a total of five runs while being swept in the two-game series by the Royals.

But these decisions weren’t designed to give the Rangers their best possible chance of beating the Royals. They were designed to maximize the Rangers’ chances of beating the teams they’ll see in the postseason.

“We need them for the rest of the year, not just in May,” said Washington, who also plans to give Josh Hamilton a day off this week.

This isn’t a case of coddling players. Far from it.

Rest assured that Cruz didn’t ask for his first day off all season immediately after homering in back-to-back games for the first time this year. Kinsler and Andrus made it clear that they wanted to be in the lineup but were following manager’s orders.

Washington makes giving his stars occasional mental and physical breaks a priority because he expects the Rangers to make a postseason run.

No, it didn’t work with the Royals in town. But it worked out awfully well while the Rangers won the American League pennant the last two seasons.

If the Rangers are fresh in October again, there won’t be any complaints about a couple of punchless losses to the Royals in May.