When the series resumes in Tampa on Monday night, one of the biggest questions the Rangers will have to answer is whether or not they brought their bats with them from Arlington.
Well, that's not quite right. We're fairly sure that the team remembered to put bats on the team plane. If they didn't do that, they've got bigger problems than David Price. The real question, then, is if the Rangers will remember how to use them when they break them out for Game Three.
The team hasn't shown much affinity for hitting away from home this season. Most teams do better in their own stadium than they do on the road, but the Rangers have a particularly large gap in production.
At home, they hit .296, tied for best in the league with Boston, and scored a league-high 498 runs. They also hit 126 home runs and slugged .508, both of which were also the best in the American League.
On the road, the Rangers hit .269, slugged .413 and scored only 357 runs. They hit 84 home runs, which, like the rest of the offensive numbers, was still good compared to the league but obviously way off the standard they set when playing in Texas. With the erratic Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison going agains Price and Jeremy Hellickson in Games Three and Four, that drop in production is awfully worrisome because the Rangers are already facing a deficit on the mound.
The biggest culprit among the individual Rangers has been Ian Kinsler. He's hitting .214 with a .312 on-base percentage in road games this season, almost 100 points off his totals in both metrics when hitting at home. As the leadoff hitter, the Rangers count on Kinsler being on base to set the table for the bigger bats down the order.
When he isn't on base, there are fewer chances to score runs and fewer chances to press advantages on the basepaths with speed. Several other players share Kinsler's aversion to playing away from home, although his splits are the most drastic.
The Rangers' greatest advantage in this series is their superior offense. If it is nullified, the balance of power shifts to the Rays and the Rangers might not get another chance to flex their muscles on their home field.