Before going any further this afternoon, I'd like to offer this gentle one-time reminder to completely and unconditionally appreciate what we're witnessing right now and to never take winning for granted ... because prosperity in baseball has a finite life, and the day will come when the Rangers won't make this game look so easy as they have over the last four days, and I would hate for anyone to look back and realize they hadn't celebrated times like these to the fullest:
- Elvis Andrus has already amassed 22 percent of his extra-base hit total from a year ago (18 total, including 15 doubles and three triples) in a matter of only four games, including a very legitimate (read: not cheap) 392-foot blast that he parked in the left-field seats last night against Erik Bedard. This, naturally, has a lot of people already casting doubt upon their pre-season assumptions about where his power output was headed, but I wanted to point something out in brief: Jason Cole reminded me the other night of hitting coach Thad Bosley's comments early in spring training regarding Andrus and Borbon, and how they needed to adopt a more aggressive approach at the plate. And, of course, this raised some eyebrows, because the thought of steering young, impressionable players towards a less disciplined approach to hitting doesn't immediately sit well with many people.
To that end, Jason's hypothesis was that because Andrus (and Borbon) aren't advanced enough to be proficient at exercising both good discipline and driving the ball, and because the Rangers are trying to eliminate some of that passivity, the net effect may end up being more power and fewer walks in the short run, which appears to be what has happened so far (albeit in a miniscule four-game sample). This thought may come across as a tad alarming, but bear in mind that trading on-base percentage for power isn't necessarily a bad thing -- the Elvis of two years ago drew fewer walks and was a less patient hitter in general, but was a definably better player because he produced 72 more points of slugging percentage than the 2010 version of Elvis. If he can surpass the break-even point, this will ultimately work to the Rangers' benefit.
- The second leg of the uncertain trip through the back three spots of the Rangers' rotation was, rather predictably, okay -- possibly good if you look at it in a certain positive light, particularly if you zero in on the five strikeouts against one walk, and possibly mediocre if you elect to focus on the moments where he was hit pretty hard by a not-so-great offense, but certainly neither bad nor great. Yet again, though, there was a potential crisis moment -- that is, Ichiro standing on third with only one out in a one-run game -- that was masterfully averted by means of the strikeout, and between this and Harrison's delightfully clutch pitching the day before, there have to be some faces beaming within the organization at the hopeful thought of these two lefties growing into legitimate big league pitchers before their very eyes.