The Rangers’ rotation has managed just one quality start in 10 postseason outings, but it doesn’t really matter. Texas is advancing to the World Series for the second consecutive year on the back of a dynamic and powerful batting order — one that strung together 17 hits and 15 runs in Saturday’s ALCS-clinching Game 6 victory over Detroit.
Ian Kinsler, the leadoff man, went 2-for-5 with three RBI. Elvis Andrus, the fleet-footed shortstop, was 2-for-5 with a stolen base and two runs scored.
Then there’s the heart of the Rangers’ lineup.
Josh Hamilton has eight RBI in these playoffs, Michael Young tallied five RBI on Saturday night alone, and Adrian Beltre has remained productive while also contributing his usual brand of elite defense at third base.
But the vaunted Texas lineup doesn’t fall off from there. Mike Napoli batted .320 with a 1.046 OPS during the regular season and carries massive power potential out of the six-hole. Nelson Cruz, the MVP of the ALCS, had six homers in the Rangers’ six-game series win. David Murphy, 2-for-2 on Saturday, is also a producer.
The Rangers won’t have many favorable pitching matchups in the Fall Classic, no matter if they face Milwaukee or St. Louis, but they boast the kind of offensive firepower that could render that shortcoming moot.
Congratulations to manager Ron Washington, team president Nolan Ryan, general manager Jon Daniels, and the Rangers’ entire 40-man roster. There’s little doubt that Texas has become a premier MLB franchise. And they should be heavy favorites, despite no home-field advantage, in the 2011 postseason’s final round.
Angels’ right-hander Garrett Richards has been moved to the 60-day disabled list, according to a team announcement on Saturday. Richards was originally placed on the 10-day disabled list in early April after sustaining a right biceps cramp during his first start of the season. No timetable has been given for his return to the mound, though Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times speculates that his return date could be pushed back to June.
While the Angels report that Richards is making some progress in his recovery, he’s still experiencing some “irritation of the cutaneous nerve,” which could be preventing him from working back up to full strength. The veteran righty already missed 154 days of the 2016 season after suffering a UCL injury, and opted for biometrics surgery to repair the ligament rather than undergoing a more intensive Tommy John procedure.
This is Richards’ seventh season with the Angels. He last pitched a full, healthy season in 2015, delivering a 3.65 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 207 1/3 innings. He’s currently one of eight Angels pitchers serving time on the disabled list, including left-hander Andrew Heaney and right-handers Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Vicente Campos, Huston Street, Mike Morin and Nick Tropeano.
When it comes to home run trots, Adam Rosales is still the guy to beat. The Athletics’ shortstop led off the first inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Mariners with a solo shot to center field, and made it all the way around the bases in record time — 15.9 seconds, to be precise. That’s 0.06 seconds faster than the previous record, which Rosales set himself last September on a 15.96-second run.
In fact, as MLB.com’s Michael Clair points out, Rosales holds eight of the 10 fastest home run trots recorded by Statcast. (The other two, naturally, belong to the Reds’ speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton.) Eight of those 10 trots were recorded in 2016, with Rosales gradually inching his way toward the 15-second mark.
The blast was the first of two home runs for the A’s, who tacked on a couple of runs with Ryon Healy‘s two-RBI homer and capped their 4-3 win over the Mariners with a productive out from Khris Davis in the third inning. It’s the fifth straight victory for the A’s this week.