The Rangers are on a winning streak! On Monday night, Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister shook up his lineup a bit to attempt to jumpstart his struggling offense. After a late inning 2-1 victory over the until-then surging ‘Stros, Bannister went with a similar lineup in game two of the series, which resulted in a 7-1 shellacking of first place Houston. With these two wins in hand, Texas now has their first series win on the season to go along with two series splits (opening series in Oakland, two-game series in Arizona) while these two wins are the first consecutive wins of the season for the team as well.
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The main change to the lineup has been placing Shin-Soo Choo at the top, with regular lead-off man Leonys Martin slotted eighth on Monday night, and missing Tuesday night’s game after injuring his wrist. Through two games, Choo is 2-for-9 batting first, but he does have a five-game hit streak going, dating back to the weekend series with Oakland, and five of the six hits he’s collected in that span have been doubles.
During this streak, Choo has raised his average (which admittedly isn’t hard to do when you’re sub-.100) from .107 to its current perch at .151 over the five game streak. Whether or not Choo will hold down the number one spot in Banister’s lineup will ultimately depend on if the team keeps on winning. While his statistics aren’t sterling, getting one double a game in front of a rebounding Elvis Andrus, and the best hitter on the team this season in Prince Fielder, means that a fair amount of the time that one hit will turn into a run, especially if it’s a double.
Andrus has hit safely in ten of the team’s previous eleven games, raising his average from .191 to .240 over that stretch. Add these three players to Adrian Beltre, who has recorded a hit in twelve of the past fourteen games, and Kyle Blanks, who in six games in the bigs has claimed the team’s home run lead with three while batting .391 and a .440 on-base percentage, and the offense could legitimately start to turn around.
When Mitch Moreland is set to return from the DL, Blanks could slide over to left field until Josh Hamilton is set to arrive in Arlington, giving the Texas Rangers six pretty decent bats in their lineup. Make that seven if Martin stays off of the disabled list.
The rotation as a whole is still a big question mark, but they are also capable of pitching like they have the past two nights. Ross Detwiler‘s (7 IP, 4 Hits, 1 ER, 7 K’s) performance on Monday likely bought him a little extra time in the rotation, while Wandy Rodriguez (8 IP, 3 Hits, 1 ER, 8 K’s) has been a nice addition in his own right.
If both of these facets start to click, the Texas Rangers could go on a little bit of a run and get right back into the divisional race. Whether or not they can sustain that momentum would be another question entirely.