Players to Watch: Rangers
Josh Hamilton: Hamilton is a beast. He’s arguably one of the top five players in all of baseball and when he is locked in he’s an unstoppable force of nature. We’ve seen what the premier power hitters in baseball have been able to do this season when the Indians come to town, so don’t be surprised it Hamilton knocks a few out of the park and pads his stats over the next three games. The Indians could try to pitch around him, but even then they’d have to contend with the likes of Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler…I could keep going. Look for Hamilton to have a big series.
- Adrian Beltre: Speaking of Beltre, he’s been red hot of late. Since hitting three home runs in one game on August 22nd, Beltre has batted .397 with 11 home runs, 21 RBI, and a 1.407 OPS. He’s playing like a man possessed right now and may be even more important to the Rangers lineup than Hamilton. The only real glimmer of hope I can provide is that he hasn’t homered in three games and only has two hits in his last 12 at-bats. If the Indians can’t keep him contained it could be a long three days.
Players to Watch: Indians
- Russ Canzler: I mentioned him once already, but Russ Canzler has become a player to watch for me for the remainder of the season. At this point he appears to be one of the lone right-handed hitting power threats in the organization and this is his chance to secure a spot heading into next season. It’s also his opportunity to show he should have been called up sooner. So far so good. In seven games played he’s hitting .333 and has had a hit in every game except for last night’s.
- Cord Phelps: Why not Cord Phelps? He was called up last year to be the answer to the Indians’ hitting woes and things didn’t go so well. Since being called up he hasn’t done much better. In four games played he’s failed to record a hit and has looked like the same player we saw a little over a year ago. He’s one of the players in the Indians organization who was thought to be a potential big leaguer sooner rather than later and to be honest, it’s time he shows something, anything of value.