Remember when winning two games in a row seemed like an impossibility, because it was?
That was then. This is now.
The Rangers have now won six in a row and, as hard as it is to believe, are just one game under .500. This team was fifty games under .500 after the first week of the season. Now everything is clicking.
It starts with the bullpen. With finding a closer.
Closers are interchangeable. The Red Sox and Cardinals made it to the World Series two years ago with their fourth choice as closers. While closers a dime a dozen, it’s also something not everyone can do. Especially if your name is Neftali.
It was just a matter of finding that guy.
Shawn Tolleson has made all the difference in the world coming into the ninth inning. His change-up is deadly. He brings confidence in knowing that the opposing team isn’t going to come back. There is nothing more crushing to the morale of a team than having your closer blow save after save.
But as much of a godsend as Tolleson has been, there is not a more important player to his team than Prince Fielder is to the Rangers.
When the Rangers were scuffling and seven regulars were under .200, only Prince was hitting. When the Rangers were getting their sea legs, Prince was about the only one hitting. Now that the Rangers are collecting Ws like the government collects taxes, Prince is more than hitting. He is going insane. He’s hitting .392 in May, with 8 HRs and 25 RBIs. And there are still six more games to go this month.
Does anybody remember Ian Kinsler?