Texas Rangers: Kolby Allard and Isiah Kiner-Falefa making long-term cases
By Seth Carlson
A 12-1 Saturday blowout win aside, the Texas Rangers‘ recent weekend trip to LA was mostly one to forget as they now set their sights on Houston for a quick two-game set with the rival Astros.
Despite the lackluster visit to Dodger Stadium, the team did manage to have two standout performers from the series: left-hander Kolby Allard and shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Both Allard and Kiner-Falefa came into this season with something to prove; the former’s bid for a consistent spot in the starting rotation and the latter’s quest to become a starting shortstop over the long haul (while also fighting off FanGraphs disrespect!).
They both leave Los Angeles having accomplished those goals, though truthfully, they’ve demonstrated their values on plenty of other occasions this season.
Still, it’s validating to see Allard and IKF’s emergences once again.
Texas’ plus-side blowout in the series occurred the same night as the 23-year-old Allard’s stellar start in front of his home town crowd. The lefty tossed five innings of shutout ball, allowing five hits and one walk while striking out four.
Kolby Allard has been lights out for the Texas Rangers of late.
The start against the Dodgers followed a similarly solid start for Allard against the Rays a week before at home, as he went the same five innings and struck out six, though he did allow two runs.
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Allard entered the season as the surprise 26th man, and he has definitely rewarded the Rangers for that decision so far. Look for him to remain a fixture in this rotation, especially as the trade deadline draws near.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, the other standout performer from the weekend, continues to impress in more ways than just one.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa continues to be a key contributor at the plate in and in the field for the Texas Rangers.
Against the Dodgers, IKF went 5-14 at the plate including two RBIs and four stolen bases (three of them on Sunday alone!), along with playing his usual solid defense.
Kiner-Falefa has 15 stolen bases on the season, which leads the Rangers and is second in all of MLB, behind only the Royals’ Whit Merrifield (17).
It’s too bad speed hasn’t killed for Texas more this season, because Izzy’s speed has been a true asset for this ball club and it was on full display over the weekend at Chavez Ravine.
Just imagine how many more runs the Rangers could be scoring with more firepower in the everyday lineup and players like Kiner-Falefa tearing up the basepaths.
Perhaps this tweet from Evan Grant sums up IKF’s impact on this team the most:
The 26-year-old has made his presence known for this team on and off the field, and as long as he continues to do so, his long-term future in Texas should be secure.