With the Texas Rangers already looking to turn the page to the following year 2022, the manager Chris Woodward he will spend much of his time over the next six weeks talking about his team’s youth and inexperience, the need for patience, and figuring out what he will have to do to work in future seasons.
At the end of the Rangers’ 8-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox in 11 innings at Fenway Park on Monday, Woodward had enough teachable moments to fill a three-ring binder:
Woodward spoke highly of the Rangers’ comeback effort that brought the game to the extras. He praised Cuban Andy Ibáñez’s ground double against right-handed closer Matt Barnes in the ninth. He praised Dennis Santana, noting that he “risked everything” before allowing the grand slam to go out to Travis Shaw.
But in the end, the good was not enough to overcome the bad. There was too much mediocre defense and base runs that scratched his head.
If there’s one conclusion to draw from Woodward’s post-game comments, it’s that the longest conversations will be with Yonny hernandez. And they will focus on the fifth inning, specifically, a baseline error that Woodward called “puzzling.” That would seem like an accurate word to describe a touch that turned into a 1-2-5-7 double play:
With one out and runners on first and third, Hernandez touched the ball, too hard, by Woodward’s estimate, back on the mound. Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi returned catcher Christian Vazquez to the plate to catch Nick Solak, who was eliminated after a brief toss-and-go. Rafael Devers touched Solak and noticed that Hernández had almost reached second, where Rangers catcher José Treviño was.
Devers easily touched Hernandez before he could go back to first. Record that one fielder’s pick double play. However, that wasn’t even the part Woodward was most upset about:
The manager ordered a soft touch to give Solak a chance to score on a safety squeeze. Hernandez’s contact was too harsh, eliminating that possibility.
What’s even more frustrating? This exact play occurred three days earlier, in the series opener in Boston. The Rangers had runners on first and third with one out and were trailing by two. Woodward ordered a soft touch, which would have scored on Jonah Heim from the third. Hernández played too hard and threw it into the air.
It’s that last part that bothered Woodward. You just talked to Hernandez about this, so it was presumably still fresh on Hernandez’s mind.
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Until the ninth, the fifth inning gave the Rangers the best opportunity to make a statement in this game. Instead, Hernandez’s base run ended the threat and Woodward was very upset. Here the interview: