Experience has vaulted Texas Rangers over Houston Astros


The Houston Astros had looked untouchable at the top of the American League West. However, the Texas Rangers have toppled that giant. Although in this situation, it is more like Goliath taking down David after his surprising battle tactics. 

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The Texas Rangers looked like goners, ready to sink down into the kiddy pool with the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners but they had other intentions at the deadline, as they added Mike Napoli and Cole Hamels. They did not just get phenomenal talent, they got experience that has been in these tight situations before.

That experience was added to the likes of Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus, all of whom have also been in these situations before. And it is with that experience that the Texas Rangers have overcome their interestate and divisional rivals, who had very little experience.

Consider what these veterans are doing in September. We will start with the big guy, Prince Fielder. Cecil’s little boy may not be hitting with the same average that he had maintained all year, but he is producing runs. He has notched 4 home runs and 12 RBIs on the month.

Meanwhile, Shin-Soo Choo has been on a ridiculous streak, hitting .424 with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs in his past 16 games. Mike Napoli has completely turned his season around since joining the Rangers, hitting .296 with 2 home runs of his own.

And then there is Adrian Beltre. For a 26 year old, he really is not getting any worse with age. He appeared to be in the middle of a down year, but in September, when it matters most, he has turned on the heat, knocking in 14 RBIs and clubbing 2 home runs. In his last seven games alone he has a .400 average with 2 home runs and 9 RBIs.

What do all of these guys have in common? They have been in pressure-cooking scenarios before. They know the drill. That type of immune-to-pressure experience is carrying this lineup.

But it does not stop there. Cole Hamels may have cost a lot of money, but it is hard to argue that he was not worth it. Since joining, he has gone 3-1 and has never thrown less than 6.0 innings. After stumbling to two subpar starts with the Texas Rangers, Hamels has now contributed 5 quality starts in his last 6 outings.

In the bullpen, the Texas Rangers have 6 relievers who have not surrendered a run in September. Essentially, the Texas Rangers bullpen is doing everything the Houston Astros’ bullpen is not doing.

This Texas Rangers squad is built for these scenarios. However, none of that would have come true without a little deadline-day injection that infused this Rangers club with a new spirit. Behind a new ace, they have powered through some rough patches and appear more than capable of holding down the division while the Astros battle it out for a wild card place. They have to keep the momentum going though. The only thing they have to worry about is if the Astros youth can catch fire yet again.

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