Welcome back, Elvis Andrus. Man we missed you.
Andrus, by his own admission, was a big reason for the Rangers’ disaster in 2014. And he didn’t start this season out much better. Just before the All-Star break he has languishing at .236 while his team hovered around .500.
But something happened on the way to another disappointing season. The former All-Star shortstop tinkered with the mechanics of his swing. Don’t look now, but he’s doing his part to power the Rangers to the AL West title.
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Wednesday night in Oakland he hit the first three-run homer of his career to help Texas beat Oakland again and widen its lead over the second-place Astros to three games with 11 remaining. With a weekend series in Houston looming, the Rangers look to sweep the A’s this afternoon behind Cole Hamels.
Obviously the Rangers’ re-birth this season has been orchestrated by Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre and Colby Lewis and Shawn Tolleson, but Andrus’ awakening certainly hasn’t hurt. Since that low point in early July, he has hit .288. His homer last night was his career-high seventh and he’s also on pace for season-bests in extra-base hits and RBI.
Andrus might be letting his results get to his head. During his at-bat in the 5th – after his homer in the 4th – he took a mighty cut that brought him to one knee, not unlike Beltre. Of course, the 3rd-baseman slugger has 411 career homers to Elvis’ 27.
Andrus isn’t the type of player who can carry an offense. But during the Rangers’ run to the division title, he’s more than produced his share of the load.
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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.