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Wash's Take: Vlad vs. Beltre

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Wash's Take: Vlad vs. Beltre

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Last season, Texas Rangers fans quickly forgot about Vlad "The Ranger Killer" Guerrero and quickly fell in love with the free-swinging, lovable designated hitter who tormented the Rangers for so long during his days with the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels.

Guerrero, if you remember, was a serious AL MVP candidate through the All-Star break before falling off dramatically in the second half of the season and all but disappearing in the postseason.

He finished last season with an even .300 batting average with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs. This year in Baltimore, he's hitting .279 with 7 home runs and 31 RBIs at the break.

His replacement in the Rangers' clean-up spot? Adrian Beltre, who the Rangers signed away from Boston in the off-season.

Beltre is hitting .273 with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs at the break, 9 less home runs and 31 less RBIs than he had all of last season playing in Fenway Park. He did hit .321 last year but he was hot in the second half, and Beltre is starting to heat up right now.

Rangers manager Ron Washington compared the two free swingers when Vlad came to town with the Orioles last week, after Guerrero hit a home run in a Rangers blowout that was followed by a standing ovation by Rangers fans.

"They're totally different," Washington said. "They're both free swingers but Vlad is a free swinger. He's [Beltre] certainly been an RBI machine for us and he seems to pick them up, and that's exactly what we need. He'll tell you he's a better second-half player and we're getting closer to the second half. Lately, he hasn't left very much out there."

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