AL West Champions

My Boys - Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus

What do you see when you look at these two? Or, what do you see when you look at the Texas Rangers’ lineup?
Depth. Intensity. Variety. Character. Personality. Players on the Rangers’ roster have these qualities, and this year they’ve constantly been out on display. I’ve gone to a dozen or so games this season at the Ballpark in Arlington and there’s just something about this team – this year – that feels so alive. Being division champions for the first time in 11 years doesn’t mean they’re just ‘good’. They’ve thundered through series after series demanding respect through their pitching (Neftali Feliz for rookie of the year, please) and hitting (currently ranked first in batting averages).

Ron Washington believes and has communicated to the Rangers that teamwork wins championships. Here’s the current (Sept. 30) lineup and my thoughts on their contribution:

Elvis Andrus – What I love about Elvis is his aggression and agility. He takes baserunning to a whole new level with a no-regret outlook on stealing. He is 22 years old, knows he has so much to learn, yet still solidly leads off the batting lineup for a MLB team. Doesn’t draw attention to himself for anything but skill. I could honestly talk about Elv forever…
Michael Young – Deserves the championship after his continual work he’s put into this team. He’s that man used in every ‘consistent player’ analogy. If players ran through every bag, fielded every ball and hustled like Young does, the game would change.
Nelson Cruz – One word: walkoff…
Vladimir Guerrero – Vlad is the contributor who said, “Uh uh, I’m not finished yet.” He absolutely rakes. Not only does he understand his designated place – he executes it so well.
Ian Kinsler – Ian’s a regular who consistently contributes through his defense. There aren’t many times when we see him make errors on the field, and him and Elvis work so comfortably together. (See picture above)
Bengie Molina – I smiled for an hour straight after his cycle this year. He joined the team and immediately began to produce, despite some fan controversy over his mid-season arrival. He’s a wall behind the plate, and a slugger at the plate.
Esteban German – We’re all happy to have you!
Mitch Moreland – Although his spot on the playoff roster isn’t secure yet, we’ve seen offensive contribution from him. He’s done well hitting wise since he joined the Rangers this summer, and needs to continue being a hitting threat.
Julio Borbon – He already made it around the bases before I could type anything…

Be sure to stay tuned as Ron Washington begins making his playoff roster decisions. Josh Hamilton returns from rib injury tomorrow while David Murphy (sic ’em) starts healing from a groin injury.

The Rangers will kick off the month of October with a matchup against the Angels at home in Arlington at 8:05 ET.

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