CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 31: Adrian Beltre #29 celebrates in the dugout after scoring on a single by David Murphy #7 of the Texas Rangers during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive on August 31, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
In a Friday staple, with a special All-Star break edition, we'll discuss who's in a groove and who's in a rut for the Texas Rangers. We usually look at the past week, but in this mid-season edition we'll take the last month into consideration.
Adrian Beltre — After a rough start to the season over the first month, Beltre has absolutely caught fire and especially in the past month. In the past 30 days, which amounts to 28 games for Beltre, he's leading the team with a .342 batting average while also leading the club in slugging percentage and OPS. He has a team-high seven homers in that time and 17 RBIs.
Nelson Cruz — This is, without a doubt, looking like the best season of Cruz's career, and it's come with the black cloud of suspension looming over his head with the Biogenesis investigation ongoing. Cruz hasn't let that pressure get to him though as he's hitting .310 with six homers and a team-high 25 RBIs over the last 28 games, and he's taken kindly to hitting in the pressure-packed 3-hole in the Rangers' lineup.
Leonys Martin — In the last month, he's hitting .330 with a .384 on-base percentage and is 11-for-13 on stolen base attempts. He's officially become the Rangers' everyday center fielder and has pushed Craig Gentry to fourth outfielder status as Gentry's been on the DL.
Derek Holland/Martin Perez — Both of these guys were wild cards, to varying degrees, entering the season and both have been fantastic over the last month. Each is sporting a 3-1 record in that time and Holland's 3.02 ERA is considerably higher than Perez's. Who would've seen that coming? Over the past month, they've both pitched better than ace Yu Darvish.
Bullpen — Wow. If there was a collective MVP for this team it would, without a doubt, go to this unit. Joe Nathan is on pace for a career year, Tanner Scheppers has become an elite set-up man, Joakim Soria looks to be back to his old self and Neal Cotts has been a revelation. If the Rangers can get six innings from their starter, they're in business.
Justin Grimm — The rookie pitcher has fallen on tough times with an ERA approaching 10.00 in July and at 8.86 over the past month. He really has no business being in a big-league rotation and Ron Washington has finally pulled the trigger and tentatively replaced him with long-man Ross Wolf.
Elvis Andrus — Tiny E has struggled all season and after showing occasional, brief signs of turning things around his numbers over the past month are still not appetizing, sitting at .218 with a .286 on-base percentage. Those are No. 8 hitter numbers, not the numbers of a guy who's supposed to be your No. 2 hitter and who's making millions and millions of dollars a year.