It's OK to freak out a little bit, Rangers fans.
The heart and soul of your team, who never leaves games with injuries and plays through busted fingers, intestines coming through his abdominal wall, etc., left a game — a playoff game — on Thursday because he couldn't move after hurting his back on a hard slide into second base. Of course, he didn't leave until he managed to get the Rangers a run with an RBI single, but what else would you expect from Adrian Beltre?
Beltre has already been ruled out for Game 2, which is no surprise given the fact it starts 18 hours after Game 1 ended, but his MRI revealed no structural damage and he's going to be getting treatment around the clock for the next two days with hopes of playing on Sunday night back in Arlington.
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If there's anyone in baseball I wouldn't bet against, it's Beltre.
But you know what? The Rangers aren't toast because of his absence. Sure, it hurts the lineup tremendously as he was the most productive hitter in baseball over the final 50 or so games and he ended the regular season as the AL Player of the Week. But, Hanser Alberto is a great fielder and actually won the equivalent of the Golden Glove for all of the minor leagues last year.
The biggest reason this isn't a death sentence? Well, quite simply, the Rangers won Game 1 and now have their ace on the hill for Game 2. If they lose, it's even again and they're heading home. If they win, they all but lock up the best-of-5 series.
So, in short, whatever happens on Friday doesn't matter so much as getting Beltre back on Sunday for Game 3, and with three days (beginning on Thursday) of round-the-clock treatment, I'd think it's a sure bet he's back in the lineup on Sunday night.