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As Ian Kinsler Goes, So Go the Rangers

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Ian Kinsler went 0-for-4 and didn't reach base on Wednesday night.

    That should be enough to tell you how the evening went for the Rangers. There were certainly other factors at play in the loss. Koji Uehara hung a splitter that wound up in the seats and Matt Harrison danced with danger far too often to expect better than a 5-4 loss to the Tigers, but Kinsler's night tells you all you need to know.

    Since the 12-game winning streak ended on July 19th, Kinsler is hitting .140 with one home run and four RBIs in 14 games. The Rangers have won just five of those games, including the 20-6 thrashing of the Twins that featured four Kinsler hits, including the home run, and all four of his RBIs. That's a stark contrast to the .333 average he posted during the winning streak.

    It also continues a season-long trend that you'd have to blind to miss. Baseball might be a team sport, but if Kinsler does not hit, the Rangers do not win.

    Kinsler has been a part of 57 Rangers wins this season. He is hitting .282 with a 941 OPS in those games and 13 of his 16 home runs have come during victories. He's walked more than he's struck out in Rangers wins, scored 48 runs and generally performed like an All-Star.

    He's also played in 47 losses and his numbers in those games resemble those of a completely different player. Kinsler has a .186 batting average, a 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and just 13 RBIs when the Rangers lose. His slugging percentage is a pitcher-esque .282, down from .551 when the Rangers post in the win column.

    It makes sense that a player would have worse stats in losses than victories because losses represent games when a team doesn't play particularly well. The split between Kinsler's performances is much larger than you'd expect to see, however. He veers from being an elite player to one that doesn't belong in the major leagues, something that might explain why the Rangers are losing games when he doesn't hit.

    Kinsler's role as leadoff hitter asks him to be on base so that the middle of the order can drive him home. When Kinsler is hitting, that happens fairly regularly and the Rangers win. When it doesn't happen, the Rangers are left scrambling to create runs -- batting Elvis Andrus second doesn't help on this front -- and, more often than not, they wind up losing.

    We're not going to sit here and affix the blame for every loss squarely on Kinsler. That's a myopic and incorrect view of the way baseball works. All we're saying is that you don't really need to look at the final score to know how things turned out for the Rangers on any given night.

    Just look at Kinsler's stats and you'll probably guess correctly all on your own.