The Rangers Need to Relax and Play Ball
The Rangers are pressing; it's as simple as that.
Get a pre-game massage, play some Playstation or go to a movie, but do something to relax before playing the A's tonight.
Really, anything will do as long as it makes the team the relaxed care free group that built such a huge lead in the American League West.
When people talk about postseason experience, this is exactly what they are talking about and the young Rangers need to lean on the veterans that have been in this position before.
I'm not much of a gambler but I'm willing to bet anyone you can go to the batters box after a Ranger at bat and see wood shavings in the dirt from the hitter grinding through the bat handle.
They can't clinch the division tonight but they're likely going to play like they can and that's the wrong approach to take in this situation.
Obviously I'm not talking about the guys that have been here before, or the veterans like Michael Young who haven't but have enough time in the game to know what to do.
I'm talking about the young core of the team, the engine driving this machine toward a division title.
Kids like Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz, two players that are trying to do too much for different reasons.
Andrus feels the pressure of being the leadoff man for an offense that's struggling and has admitted to swinging at pitches he has no business swinging at.
He said he's not making the pitcher work to get him out and he's right, now he needs to fix it.
With Josh Hamilton out of the order, Cruz is pressing to fill the void in the middle of the order and forgetting to use the talent that got him here.
Instead of making the pitcher throw something he can drive, Cruz is making the same mistake the rest of the order is; swinging early in the count and falling into pitchers counts.
The Rangers have done this before in 2010 and they've always found a way out of their slump, but this is different.
It's not a simple case of their mechanics getting out of whack, it's something far worse.
It's a mental issue.
They're so focused on wrapping up the AL West they're forgetting the single most important aspect of any team, especially this group.
They've stopped having fun.
The best thing that can happen for the Rangers tonight in Oakland is for the players to be able to throw out the Claw and Antlers early in the game and then maybe they'll relax and just play ball.
If not, there's always a pre-game massage.