We knew Nolan Ryan knew a lot about pitching, but it appears his hitting knowledge is pretty strong as well.
Ryan castigated Josh Hamilton for not taking enough pitches and it seems like Hamilton has taken the criticism to heart. We've seen a more disciplined Hamilton at the plate over the last 10 games and the results look a lot more like the Hamilton we expected to see all season.
Hamilton has a 905 OPS over those 10 games with two homers and 12 RBIs. He's had two four RBI games in that span, including Wednesday against the Red Sox when Hamilton helped the team overcome pitching and managerial woes for a 10-9 win.
Those gaudy RBI totals tell you that the rest of the Rangers have been doing their jobs as well, which leads us to a classic chicken/egg scenario. Is the success elsewhere in the lineup allowing Hamilton to be more patient at the plate or are the rest of the players benefitting from Hamilton's unwillingness to help out pitchers by swinging at bad pitches?
The gut reaction is to say that the play of others is making it easier for Hamilton to be more selective at the plate. If you're thinking about making the offense percolate all by yourself, you're unlikely to take a lot of pitches because you're trying to create runs on every swing. With others contributing, it's easier to take a walk and pass the baton.
It sounds good, but it doesn't account for the fact that the Rangers' offensive output is almost always in proportion to Hamilton's patience. Whenever he's flashing discipline at the plate, his numbers soar and the Rangers score runs.
All of which leaves us back at the chicken and the egg. Perhaps it's best just to reach the conclusion that it doesn't much matter which one is the driving factor and be satisfied with the fact that both Hamilton and the Rangers offense are producing again.