CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 31: Adrian Beltre #29 celebrates in the dugout after scoring on a single by David Murphy #7 of the Texas Rangers during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive on August 31, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Remember prior to the 2011 season when the Texas Rangers signed Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli as a compensation for losing Cliff Lee in free agency and everyone went nuts.
Remembering Beltre from a few forgettable years in Seattle, many Rangers fans poo-pooed the idea of giving the veteran third baseman five years for $80 million with a $16 million vesting option for a sixth season. It wasn't a really popular move among Rangers fandom coming off their first-ever World Series appearance.
Turns out, it was one of the best moves Jon Daniels and the Rangers' front office has made in quite some time as he's been the cornerstone of the Rangers lineup throughout his 2 1/2 seasons in Arlington, even with the good Josh Hamilton and a red-hot Napoli, it's been Beltre who has always been in the heart of the Rangers' offense.
That showed once again on Tuesday night as Beltre put on a show in the Rangers' 8-4 win and is in the midst of quite a tear over the past two weeks.
Beltre went 4-for-4 on Tuesday with two homers and added a broken-bat RBI single for a nice little insurance run to preserve Joe Nathan and get the game out of a save situation. He's now 21-for-43 over his last 11 games and has six home runs in his last six games with two multi-homer games in that stretch. That followed a month-long stretch of no home runs for Beltre, who's starting to find his power stroke again.
“He’s the big guy in the middle of the lineup,” Washington told reporters. “He’s the one guy that everyone looks to. He’s the one guy they want to be up there in those situations. When Adrian’s getting it done, it relaxes everybody else, and that’s usually what the big guy does in the middle of the lineup.”
After several bouts this season with offensive ineptitude, the Rangers' offense has now put up eight runs in consecutive games and the team has won three straight and are one win away from winning a road series against a good Orioles team.
And, of course, Beltre said the recent surge offensively isn't just thanks to him, but he's been a pretty big part of it.
“We all contribute some way or another; I think we are good as a group,” Beltre told ESPN Dallas. “There's not one guy who can say he's the main guy. I think everybody's contributing right now. There's [just] a couple games that I'm contributing a lot better than I did before.”