David Murphy continues to bury the past

ARLINGTON, Texas -- No one has been tougher on David Murphy this season than David Murphy.

Multiple times he's called much of the season a "personal misery." He has said he ached internally as the team won, yet he struggled and found fewer and fewer chances to contribute.

Then came a September hamstring injury to Nelson Cruz, a chance to play and Murphy bloomed. He's refused to slow down when he's been in the postseason lineup, batting .333. He came through in Saturday's Game 1 of the ALCS with an RBI triple to the right-center field gap in the second inning off Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

With the Tigers stacked with right-handed pitchers, the lefty swinging Murphy, who hit a season-best .351 in September, would seem to have a spot reserved in left field for today's Game 2 and beyond. He has split time with right-handed rookie outfielder Craig Gentry and during the regular season Murphy often gave way to fellow lefty Endy Chavez, who has yet to see postseason action.

"He's much more aggressive," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "When Murphy is very aggressive that's when he's at his best. When he's tentative, a lot of times he take pitches he should be swinging at. That's what he's been doing. He's been more aggressive."