SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 28: Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers makes a play on a ground ball in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants in Game Two of the 2010 MLB World Series at AT&T Park on October 28, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ian Kinsler
Ian Kinsler has drawn all sorts of criticism this year, some of it fair and some of it not.
He's gone through a horrific slump at the plate, as of late has begun getting back on track at the plate, and tonight faces John Lackey, who he's a career .480 hitter against with three home runs in nearly 30 at-bats.
One thing you'd be crazy to call Kinsler on is his defense at second base, and never was that more evident than on Monday night in the top of the ninth inning with a 4-0 lead and runners on first and third base with two outs.
The speedy Carl Crawford was at the plate and hit a shot up the middle that Kinsler tracked to his right, laid out in a full dive and made the stop.
He popped up to his knees, turned and fired a perfect strike to Mitch Moreland at first base to get Crawford by a few steps to end the game, and preserve the Rangers' 15th shutout of the season.
Yeah, Kinsler's .244 batting average is not ideal for a leadoff man, but he's scored 86 runs, has 21 stolen bases and 58 RBIs and 20 bombs.
And fans can complain all they want about Kinsler's plate approach and his upper-cut swing, but his approach ain't bad at all. He's got 70 walks this year and only 59 strikeouts, already well above his walk total from each of the past two seasons.
But there's one thing you can't complain about, and that's Kinsler's approach to the game, and how hard he plays it. Look no further than Monday night for evidence of that.