Don’t look now, but the Rangers have a winning streak. And, courtesy of surprising slugger, an infusion of hope.
As Houston’s old pitcher (Wandy Rodriguez) beat the Rangers’ old pitcher (Scott Feldman) last night, it was another productive night at the plate by Kyle Blanks that has me genuinely intrigued by this team for one of the few times this season. And for the first time this season, the Rangers have won back-to-back games.
I was at Blanks’ Rangers debut last Wednesday in Arlington, and it didn’t go too swell. He went 0 for 3 against Felix Hernadez with two strkeouts, and failed to come up with bouncing grounder that turned into two runs that broke open a close game.
To say things have turned around in a week is an understatement. Because, guess who leads the Rangers in homers? Yep, Blanks.
Since that iffy debut, the lanky first baseman has gone 9 for 20 with two walks, a double, three homers, five RBI and a stolen base.
Against Scott Feldman Tuesday night he singled in the first and would have had an RBI had Prince Fielder not been thrown out at home. In the third he singled again, this time to right field, to ignite a two-run rally. And in the fifth he launched a 415-foot homer to center field to make it 7-1 Texas.
Blanks is 28. He’s bounced around already between the Padres and A’s. He’s probably not the Rangers’ long-term answer at first base.
But in a season desperate for silver linings, right now he’s about the best the Rangers have.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.