If the Rangers manage to do the unthinkable and go to a third consecutive World Series, then everyone in the Dallas-Fort Worth area needs to write Ian Kinsler a thank you card because he started it all last night.
The Rangers found themselves down six early but found a way to claw back within one run. In the bottom of the ninth, Kinsler stepped up down 7-6, but by the time his at-bat was over he had tied the game.
The crowd was electrified. A team that seemed to have grown bored in July appeared to finally have some bounce.
But then Joe Nathan happened. Three runs in the top of extra innings usually gets you a loss and some damage to your confidence, but something special had happened the inning before.
The Rangers came up knowing what they had to do. After a Cruz homer, Michael Young grounded one to the left side; but Angel’s shortstop Andrew Romine bobbled it, and Young was safe at first. The Rangers reverted to 2011 form and capitalized on an opponent’s error. Texas would go on to score off a Mitch Moreland single; the bases were loaded, and Kinsler was back up.
Kinsler popped up and put the terrible thought of a game-ending double play out there. But that’s what’s great about the ignited Rangers; sure Kinsler missed an opportunity, but his teammates were in it to pick him up.
You know the rest—Andrus singles, two runs score. Game Over. The Rangers come back twice to win.
The bats seemed to finally come alive as the calendar turned to August, but the best thing about the Rangers win last night wasn’t the bats—it was the pitching.
Not last night’s pitching, but the pitching moving forward.
When the Ranger offense was struggling in July, the pitchers knew they couldn’t afford to make a mistake. Two runs may cost them the game. So when two separate, seemingly monumental deficits are erased; it does wonders for a pitchers mindset.
They can now go out with the mentality to get hitters out instead of trying to not make a mistake which is a big deal when you have talented but mentally inconsistent pitchers like the Rangers.
So as the series comes to a conclusion tonight, don’t be surprised if the newest Ranger Ryan Dempster goes out and pitches a gem, and the Rangers roll through August. Just remember to thank Ian when it’s all said and done.