Ron Washington: “I will take our best game against any team in baseball”

October 14, 2010 – 10:45 am by Chris Fedor

The Rangers just did something for the first time ever in franchise history. Texas won a playoff series. After taking the first two games in Tampa Bay, the Rangers dropped the next two games at home and their fate this year in the playoffs came down to a pivotal game five in St. Pete. Lucky for the Rangers, they have the best pitcher in the American League on their side. Cliff Lee pitched another gem and shut down the Tampa Bay bats completely and they celebrated with a little Ginger Ale after the game.

The Rangers will now square off against the Yankees in the ALCS. Texas has enough offensive firepower to keep up with anyone in the American League, including New York, but it will come down to pitching in this series. With Cliff Lee having to be used in game five just to get to the ALCS, it limits how much he will be able to be used in this series. However if it comes down to game seven and Cliff Lee gets the ball somehow, some way, don’t be surprised if the Rangers pop open the Ginger Ale again.

Ron Washington joined ESPN Radio Dallas with Galloway and Company to talk about how he feels after winning the first postseason series in franchise history, the leadership of the team, whether or not they heard some of the things that the Rays players were saying prior to game five, and what he thinks of the upcoming series with the Rangers and how his rotation sets up.

On winning this series after everything the team went through this year:

“I am very thankful. You couldn’t write a better script. We decided we wanted to be something during spring training and we went out there and did whatever had to be done to make it come to fruition. We’re in a good place right now, we’re very pleased where we are, but it’s not over with yet.”

On the leadership of the team:

“I think you have a point there. I’m the leader, but no leader is considered a great leader unless the people that are doing the brunt work are doing the work and that’s where the coaches come in and the players come in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in that order, but the focus. These guys have such great focus and every time this year people have decided to count us out they have found a way to get it done. Yesterday was a day where our back was against the wall and I know everybody had us counted out, but in that clubhouse we believed. Extraordinary things can happen when you believe and something extraordinary happened yesterday because we believed. We just went out there and put a Texas Rangers baseball game together. People around the country that have never seen the Rangers play before, they might’ve thought that we planned something or did something out of the ordinary, but we just put a game together that we’re capable of playing. The key is consistency, but what we did yesterday, we’re capable of doing and we certainly went out there and now I hope people can take the Texas Rangers really serious.”

On whether or not they heard some of the stuff coming from Tampa Bay prior to game five:

“Yes of course we heard that. (Host: Was it the players?) It was. They got excited when they took two games and they said some things that got back. They were mocking our antlers and the claw and there was a comment that said we were running scared now. We don’t run scared from anybody. We may go out there and get beat, but we don’t run scared. We’re a professional team, we believe in each other, but we don’t run scared. What really motivated us was that we wanted to get to that point ever since spring training and it was there, it was in front of us, and we knew we could play baseball if we played our best game. I always said I will take our best game against any team in baseball and last night we played our best game. Motivation as far as what they said it helped a little bit, but I don’t think that’s the type of stuff that makes you go out there and win a ballgame. You gotta go out there and pitch, you gotta play defense, you gotta take advantage of opportunities, and everything I just said we did.”

On how important it was to play well against the Yankees earlier this year:

“Yeah, well that gave us incentive to know that we can play with those guys. We have to eliminate putting those guys on the bag, we have to eliminate turning that lineup over because that is a very educated lineup, that’s a very professional lineup, and it’s a very wise lineup. We’ve just got to make sure that we make them earn everything that they get. If we do that, we will be in every ballgame and when you’re in a ballgame you have just as much of an opportunity to win it as everyone else. We’re just gonna go out there, we’re gonna get focused on what we can do, we’re gonna make sure we try to limit the opportunities that we give to them and everything that they earn is acceptable.”

Listen to Ron Washington on ESPN Radio Dallas here

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