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.