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Nelson Cruz getting hot at a great time for Texas

Oct 10, 2011, 9:10 PM EST

Nelson Cruz Getty Images

Take a bow, Nelson Cruz.

Already having homered to give the Rangers their third run in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Tigers, Cruz unleashed some more fury Monday, tying the game with a solo bomb in the seventh and then hitting a rare walkoff grand slam in the 11th as the Rangers won 7-3.

Cruz, who was just 1-for-15 in the ALDS against the Rays, has nine homers, seven doubles and 16 RBI in 22 games over the last two postseasons. He was instrumental in the Rangers’ run to the World Series last year, hitting six homers and knocking in 11 runs.

And now Cruz, who went from hitting .318 in 2010 to .263 this year, is hot again. He certainly has to be taken seriously as one of the game’s top sluggers when he’s on. Over the last three seasons, he ranks 11th in baseball in slugging percentage at .534, leaving him just a tad behind guys like Ryan Braun (.548), Prince Fielder (.547) and teammate Josh Hamilton (.546). His production is inflated by playing in Texas and his rate stats probably wouldn’t be as strong anywhere else, but there’s no questioning his power.

One need merely ask Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Ryan Perry about that.

  1. txrangers90 - Oct 10, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    Because of Cruz I am going to have to sit with a pillow on my lap for at least a month

  2. youreyesareweird - Oct 10, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    The author is a dick. Can’t give props to Cruz and let him have his day?…gotta take a shot at him with the last sentence. As if those homers wouldn’t have cleared other ballparks…prick

    • thefalcon123 - Oct 10, 2011 at 10:54 PM

      Home/road OPS

      2009: Home: .931, Road: .778
      2010: Home: 1.099, Road: .805
      2011: Home: .953, Road: .688

      How is he a dick for adding factual context to his stats?

    • cur68 - Oct 10, 2011 at 11:10 PM

      youreyes; Du-uude, chill. Even the Rangers say that Arlington is a home run paradise. Surely you didn’t miss the comments CJ Wilson made during the game on a long fly out while being interviewed? “A homer any other day of the year; the wind blows out hard to RF”. Cruz is not unlike a lot of big hitters; a home run hitter in this home park. I fail to see what the criticism is.

    • rollinghighwayblues - Oct 10, 2011 at 11:12 PM

      Lighten up, Francis.

  3. angrycorgi - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:34 AM

    youreyes; Du-uude, chill. Even the Rangers say that Arlington is a home run paradise. Surely you didn’t miss the comments CJ Wilson made during the game on a long fly out while being interviewed? “A homer any other day of the year; the wind blows out hard to RF”. Cruz is not unlike a lot of big hitters; a home run hitter in this home park. I fail to see what the criticism is.

    The only problem with your theory is that while the wind typically blows toward RF @~10-15MPH, Cruz hits almost all of his HRs and doubles to LF. This is why Michael Young always tries to hit it the other way. The Temple is a southpaw’s paradise (RF wind + 325-407ft RF range), and Cruz hits right-handed and pulls almost all his power shots.

  4. sdelmonte - Oct 11, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Thank you for not calling Cruz’s homer the first game ending grand slam in the playoffs. I know that officially Robin Ventura had a single. Rules are rules. But that ball did leave the park on that unforgettable night at Shea in 1999. And the excitement of that moment has lingered for me the way I am sure the moment last night will linger for Rangers fans.

    Great game all the way around. I wonder what comes next.

    • Richard In Big D - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      I wonder what the owner/president of the team that Cruz plays for would have to say about Ventura not making it home? Maybe he should have gone home via the mound?

    • foreverchipper10 - Oct 11, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      That day stunk.

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