It hasn't been the season that everyone hoped to see from Ian Kinsler.
For years we've wondered just what the second baseman was capable of doing at the plate if he could avoid the injury bug that has robbed him of time during every season. Kinsler's been healthy, but his production hasn't spiked as a result and there have been long periods where he's been almost totally ineffective at the plate.
He hasn't been awful, not by any measure, but the results have still been a bit disappointing for a player in his prime with his kind of track record. The summer of Kinsler hasn't materialized and that's just one of the reasons why this Rangers season, first place or not, has felt a bit underwhelming.
It's a good thing we're only halfway through, though, because there's always a chance for things to get better. And, for Kinsler, it appears that the time has come for a change. After a poor May and an 0-for-23 start to June, Kinsler has hit .375 and rediscovered his power in a tantalizing glimpse at what could be a second half to savor.
The last two nights in Houston have provided much of the excitement for Kinsler's future. He has three homers and a triple in the two Rangers victories and his two homers on Wednesday were a big reason why the team secured the Silver Boot given to the winner of the six-game Texas series every year.
The second of those two homers came during an at-bat that shows just how well things are going for Kinsler at present. He started his trip to the plate in the third inning by trying to bunt and got hit by a pitch from Brett Myers. Umpire Bob Davidson called the pitch a strike, however, and said Kinsler was in fair territory trying to get the bunt down.
Some other time we'll discuss why Kinsler, with two homers and triple in his last three trips to the plate, was bunting, but the somewhat confusing call turned into a blessing when he blasted another ball out of the park. That run wound up as the winning margin in the 3-2 game and it became yet another reason to believe in Kinsler's turnaround.
There's good reason to believe this isn't just a momentary blip. Kinsler's been quite unlucky this season with a .242 batting average on balls in play despite a line drive rate and other peripheral numbers that say it should be much higher. If he gains even 20 points on that mark over the rest of the year, something that would still leave him below league average, his numbers for the second half will look pretty darn good and the entire offense will likely produce more runs as a result.
The wait for the best of Kinsler has been frustrating, but it is starting to look like it has all been worthwhile.