ARLINGTON, Texas -- The No. 6 hitter has had a historic homer binge and is hitting .350. The cleanup hitter is 75 points below the Mendoza Line and only has one extra-base hit.
Seems like swapping the two would be a simple solution, right?
Not to Ron Washington, who points out that the 6-0 Rangers don’t have any problems right now. The Rangers lead the American League with 42 runs scored.
“My lineup works the way it is,” Washington said. “I’m not fixing something that’s not broken.”
The Rangers lead the majors in home runs (13, tied) and slugging percentage (.603), and are second with 42 runs, 39 RBIs and 117 total bases. As a team, the Rangers have a .284 batting average.
The question is whether the Rangers’ run machine would work even better with Nelson Cruz, who has six RBIs already after his two-run double in Wednesday’s win over the Mariners, hitting behind Josh Hamilton instead of Adrian Beltre.
Cruz won’t keep up this ridiculous pace, but his spectacular start can’t be considered a fluke. It’s a continuation of his postseason, when he hit .317 with seven doubles, six homers and 11 RBIs in 16 games. His numbers the last two seasons – totals of 55 homers and 154 RBIs – would be elite if he hadn’t missed so many games due to health issues.
Of course, Beltre arrived in Arlington with a track record as a run producer. He has eight 20-homer seasons, including last year’s .321, 28-homer, 102-RBI campaign for the Red Sox. He also has over 1,000 at-bats in the cleanup hole, compared to only 125 for Cruz.
Washington won’t try to fix a run-producing machine that’s roaring right along. But that sports car might go even faster with a little tinkering under the hood.