Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Rangers [Print without images]

Friday, April 16, 2010
Rangers talk about defense, pitching

By Richard Durrett

NEW YORK -- It didn't take manager Ron Washington long to mention defense in his postgame media scrum. He didn't seem like a guy that was concerned, but defense certainly hurt the club in Friday's 5-1 rain-shortened (6 innings) game at Yankee Stadium. Check out notes on the game here.

The Rangers were called for just one error but misplayed a few balls and, as Michael Young said, there were plays they "probably should have made" out there.

"We just have to tighten up our defense," Washington said. "We tighten up our defense, I think everything will fall into place. We're just not making plays. We're making errors and making them at the wrong time. You can't give those guy extra outs, because they're going to take advantage of them."

Washington said he was not upset with Chris Davis for attempting to throw to second in the fourth inning to start what would have been a difficult double play. Davis hit the runner, causing an additional run to score. The Yankees scored three in the inning, giving them breathing room in what was a 1-1 game.

"Chris tried to make a play and didn't make the throw in line where he should have," Washington said. "When he made the play and got to his knees, I thought he had a shot at him at second base. He just didn't put the ball in the lane he should have. If he had put the ball outside of the runner, he could have gotten him."

The easier play would have been to go to first and get the sure out. But Washington didn't have a problem with Davis' decision, just the execution.

Execution was an issue in the first inning, when Taylor Teagarden couldn't get a high four-seam fastball from starter C.J. Wilson. The passed ball allowed Derek Jeter to score the tying run from third. Wilson said he didn't think he and Teagarden were crossed up, but that his pitch was higher than it was supposed to be.

"I was upset on both ends there," Wilson said. "I didn't put the ball where I was supposed to. That play surprised me."

As Wilson said, it was a strange game. The Yankees had, in Wilson's opinion, three hard-hit balls. The rest were just hit in the right spots. Wilson had a chance to make a play on Jeter's chopper behind the mound in the sixth to try to keep it 5-1, but Wilson said he couldn't move quite as well for some reason. He mentioned that he slightly twisted his back on one comebacker earlier in the game and that may have caused him to not be able to get to the ball as he normally would.

"It was like a cat on a hardwood floor," Wilson said. "That was just the way the night went for them and for us. They got some balls that had funny bounces, weird spins, slick baseballs, cracked bats. There was nothing else I could really do. I had a rough first inning, but other than that, I wanted to give our team a chance to fight back."

Wilson said the only thing that didn't happen was that "nobody got hit by a bird landing on a ground ball or something." 

Wilson got a complete game -- yes, it was just six innings, but it's still a complete game -- and did what he could despite not being at 100 percent following food poisoning.

"I wasn't 100 percent, but you have to go out there," Wilson said. "I wanted to go out there and pitch. I felt like if I was anything over 80 percent, I had to go out there and ask for the ball and that's what I did. Today was one of those days where if I would have had that extra little bit in the tank, maybe I would have overpowered myself out of the situation a little bit. But I had to go out there and try to get some breaks and the breaks didn't go our way tonight."

The Rangers are now 1-4 against left-handed starters so far this season. Young said he wasn't worried about it this early in the 2010 campaign and neither was Washington. Ian Kinsler, one of the top batters against left-handed pitching a year ago, is still on the disabled list. And the team has a gaggle of left-handed hitters. We'll see how they fare against another lefty -- Andy Pettitte -- on Sunday.

C.C. Sabathia impressed Wilson, Young and Washington. He had nine strikeouts in the win.

"The guy just pounds the strike zone," Young said. "He's as good as there is at getting strike one. He has good put away pitches for righties and lefties."