Momentum is nice but for the Texas Rangers, it’s far from necessary.
After shocking the experts and winning the first two games of the Toronto series, the Texas Rangers dropped two at home, evening the series to 2-2 and placing all the pressure on the decisive game five in Toronto.
At face value, it appears all of the momentum is on the Toronto side, and frankly, it’s hard to argue to the contrary. The Rangers jumped out to claim the two big wins to start the season, and then they proceeded to hand the Jays the next two in convincing fashion. Toronto’s ridiculously talented lineup has heated up in the process, making them the favorites once again to win the series and move on.
Even though momentum is clearly on Toronto’s side, momentum doesn’t matter to the Rangers. The Rangers are known to be a streaky team. They play excellent for a few games and then the pendulum swings the other way and they play poorly for the next few games. The Texas Rangers roller-coaster picks up and drops off bandwagon passengers on a weekly basis.
Just look at the last series of the regular season. The Rangers had the momentum. They won the first of four games against the Angels and needed only one more to claim the AL West. Instead of riding the momentum — they tanked. They blew leads in back-breaking fashion and made an easy situation difficult when they placed all the pressure on the final game.
What did the Rangers do?
The same thing they did all season. They bounced back and played great ball. Behind the arm of Cole Hamels the Rangers won game four easily, as all phases of the game came back together and propelled the Rangers into the ALDS playoff series against the Blue Jays.
Enter Cole Hamels once again.
For the final and deciding game of the series, Cole Hamels will once again take the mound. The confidence he exudes will only strengthen an already confident Rangers dugout. The Jays won’t be easily dispatched. They have one of the best lineups in recent memory and are now firing on all cylinders.
The always-patient/ always-calm Cole Hamels will have his work cut out for him but this is exactly why the Rangers traded for the former Philly. Cole Hamels has a unique weakness that may prove to be a strength on Wednesday. Cole is notorious for giving up early runs in the 1st and 2nd innings and then he gets stronger as the game progresses. As a result, he’s used to overcoming adversity on nearly every start and that will serve him well against this potent Blue Jays offense.
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The Rangers bats are cold and that clearly has to change if they expect to challenge the Jays in this game. Hamels can be as cool and calm as he wants, but if the Rangers don’t score runs, it won’t matter a bit. Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland are slumping but they have a history of breaking out suddenly (rather than gradually). The Rangers will need them too on Wednesday.
Aiding the offense is the recent return of 3rd basemen, Adrian Beltre. Still noticeably injured, Beltre came back in game four to provide the Rangers the only offense of the day. The team looks to Beltre for leadership and at times inspiration. Beltre is providing quite the inspirational performance thus far this series.
This Rangers team has proven they never give up and no obstacle is too large for them to overcome. Just two weeks ago, when every drop of momentum was sitting in the Angels’ dugout, the Texas Rangers stormed back with hardly a worry in the world.
Expect the same on Wednesday in Toronto.
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