Vlad with a glove? In the AT&T Park outfield? With its Triples Alley? And its in-play bullpens?
Advantage: Gigantes. But the Rangers say they need the thunder.
From Evan Grant in the Dallas Morning News:
"You can bet we will figure out a way to get Vlad in the starting lineup," Washington said Sunday during a media availability. "We are not going to take his bat out of the lineup."
That means Triples Alley, baby! This ought to be fun/adventurous/troublesome/disastrous.
It's also another example of the all-hands-on-deck tactics that make postseason play special. Washington feels it's critical to keep Guerrero in the lineup, though his playing time comes at the expense of David Murphy(notes). The statistical difference between him and Vlad probably isn't as much as you'd think.
It's trickier for the Rangers. Vlad says he'll be fine out there. He'll try, anyway. The guy's a pro's pro.
Guerrero, 35, logged 125 innings in the outfield during the regular season — and all but seven of the innings came in right. He most recently played there Oct. 2 (that was smart by Washington). Vlad also has played the outfield at AT&T, but only in three games since 2006.
"I'm ready," Guerrero said. "I've been practicing during the season catching fly balls in the outfield. I'm ready. [...]
"It's up to the manager. [...] If he wants me to play both games, I'll play both games. If they need me to pinch-hit, I'll be ready to do that."
Back in the day, Vlad was an average outfielder with a rocket — if erratic — arm, but he hasn't played defense even semi-regularly in two years. If the World Series goes the full seven, that means four games in San Francisco.
Oh, those aging legs.
- Ron Washington