Berkman, Rangers deliver good signs

by Dan M | Posted on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013


By Chad Conine

I was driving to meet up with some friends on Monday evening, listening to the Rangers bat in the bottom of the seventh against Cleveland and hoping that they weren’t in the process of squandering yet another scoring opportunity, when it occurred to me that it might be one of those little pivotal moments in a season.

First of all, it’s nice to have the Rangers at home for the next week and a half after they lost four of six and briefly lost the AL West lead on the recent road trip to Boston and Toronto.

But I was thinking while rolling along in my car that the thing about getting healthy in more ways than one on this home stand needs to include winning a couple of laughers. Hopefully getting healthy means getting Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland back from the DL. But if the Rangers have to scratch and claw to earn a W, or go into extra innings, then it’s going to be hard to get healthy in the confidence sense.

And there they were battling Cleveland to a 3-3 tie having left five runners on base in six innings and threatening to leave another in the seventh. The season was beginning to feel like a constant struggle. Of course, one thing I’ve been saying about the Rangers lately is that if June is a tough month, then I’d rather see them have a tough month in June and hopefully get it going again for the stretch run in August and September. Still, position players — including some of the best hitters in the lineup — going on the DL, pitching injuries and flat pitching performances were hinting that they could start to take a costly toll.

And then the energy returned to Eric Nadel’s voice as he called a Lance Berkman drive to left. With two outs and Elvis Andrus on third base, Berkman smashed Cleveland pitcher Nick Hagadone’s offering 376 feet for a homer that put the Rangers ahead, 5-3.

That would be enough. Enough to defeat Cleveland without too much drama on Monday and enough to put nerves at ease.

Another reason to breathe easier is that reports out of Arlington suggest Kinsler could be back in the lineup before the home stand is over. The Star-Telegram’s Foul Territory blog sums up the injury situation nicely.

Is it too much to hope that the Rangers have a lineup with Pierzynski, Kinsler, Beltre and Moreland along with keeping Profar in some active role AND Colby Lewis in the starting rotation by the All-Star break AND keep it that way for the duration of 2013?

Yeah, probably. But that’s how baseball go.

Photo by Chad Conine

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