ANAHEIM -- Second baseman Ian Kinsler's 42-game errorless streak came to an end on Sunday when he misplayed a routine ground ball. Manager Ron Washington said that's a play Kinsler makes "one thousand times out of a thousand." The error doesn't change his assessment of Kinsler's defense this year. "Outstanding," Washington said. "One of the best in the league."
Washington ranks Kinsler, Robinson Cano of the Yankees and Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox as the three best defensive second basemen in the league. He said all three are about equal as far as range and hands. What separates the three of them, according to Washington, is Kinsler's ability to turn the double play. "I think Kinsler turns the best double play of anybody in baseball," said Washington, whose team leads the league in twin killings. Of the eight second basemen in the league with enough games to qualify, Kinsler is last in fielding percentage. He is at .984 and Pedroia leads at .992. But, according to STATS Inc., Kinsler has the highest zone rating (a comprehensive defensive sabermetric) at his position in the American League. According to FanGraphs.com, another website that attempts to rank defensive players through a combination of factors, Kinsler ranks second behind Pedroia in "ultimate zone rating." Cano is the reigning Gold Glove winner at second base. Placido Polanco, now with the Phillies, won it with the Tigers in 2009 and Pedroia did so in '08. Kinsler has never won it, but Washington believes he deserves consideration this year. "I saw Michael Young win a Gold Glove [at shortstop in 2008] and it's something I definitely want to do," Kinsler said. "It would mean a lot to me. It's recognition as one of the best defensive players of the year. That would mean a lot to me. I feel I'm playing good defense. I just need to stay focused."