Mitch Moreland, moments before driving in the game’s fourth run, and knocking out A’s starter Jesse Hahn. Unfortunately, it would not be enough.
Is there a bigger surprise on this surprising resurgent Rangers team than Mitch Moreland?
His walk up music is “haters gonna hate.” Appropriate. He has attracted more than his fair share of hate.
Actually, scratch that. He has gotten exactly his fair share. He has been a major disappointment.
Maybe he was a victim of his early success.
He came up in the glorious 2010 season, when every memory viewed in the rear view mirror of time looks magical and golden.
He was a power hitting first baseman with nine home runs and 25 RBIs in just 47 games. He was one of the few offensive highlights in the World Series whose outcome didn’t really matter to Rangers fans because they were just happy to finally be there after all those years.
Maybe it’s not fair to Moreland to hold him to such a high standard based on that season where everything was roses and sunshine, but he never seemed to turn the corner.
His baseball fate has been so cruel that the year in which he had his best home run total, 25 in 2013, a fellow named Chris Davis—who just happened to be the guy Moreland replaced by going 6-for-13 in that 2010 World Series and made everyone think he was the first baseman of the future—decided he’d hit 53 home runs with 138 RBIs.
It didn’t help Moreland’s cause that he hit just .232 in the Year of Chris Davis.
Moreland couldn’t win. But basically, he couldn’t hit
Maybe that’s because he spent the last four seasons mostly injured. At least that’s what Rangers fans were told. He became the poster boy of mediocre. A guy with a bum wrist, bum hamstring, bum hamstring on the other leg, and bum ankle in his last four seasons.
Mostly, it seems, Moreland became despised for committing the one unpardonable baseball sin in baseball: failing to live up to his promise.
Then this year started.
And a different Mitch Moreland has shown up. A confident Mitch Moreland. A disciplined Mitch Moreland. A productive Mitch Moreland.
Take away Prince Fielder, and the offensive star of this 2015 Texas Rangers team is Mitch Moreland. He has been an under the radar offensive machine.
Yes, Mitch Moreland. (Yes, I said it. Yes, it’s true.)
He picked up two more clutch RBIs last night to give him 24 for the season. He’s been hitting over .300 for most of the season. (It’s a shame those RBIs proved to be not enough as the Rangers gloves and bullpen faltered in the end and Texas lost 5-4 to Oakland in a game they should have won.)
This year Moreland is hitting for average, hitting for power, driving in runs, keeping innings alive. And maybe most important of all, he is an anchor in the infield. It’s no coincidence that once he took over the full-time 1B gig, the Rangers infield defense turned around. (Ignore last night, please.)
When the defense improves, the pitching improves. When the pitching improves, wins follow.
Is this the real Mitch Moreland? Who knows? The front office says it is. But they say that about everyone.
The different is, this the first time his productivity has lasted longer than a brief two-week spell before he disappeared into his typical long summer vacation.
Haters gonna hate. Moreland’s out to prove them all wrong.
Starting with me.
I have no problem admitting I was wrong. In cases like this, I like being wrong.
Let’s go, Mitch. Make me eat my words again.
The world famous RR3 t-shirts are in. They are single handedly responsible for the Rangers recent surge to the top of the AL West.
If you want to order one, they are $15 each, available in Men’s S, M, L, or XL. Go to: cash.me/$ourkevinlyfather
(This is a secure site, created by the makers of Square. I never see your credit card info.)
In the box for “Optional Note,” type in your name, address, phone number and shirt size (if you want to add your RR3 name, that would be nice, too, but you don’t have to, there is a limit of 50 characters). Example: Ross Detwiler, 1000 Oh No Not Him Drive, Earned Runs, TX 00000, Size: XL, For: dearmidol.