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Rangers BBTN: Nelson Cruz rewind

Let’s rewind to just before the start of Game 2 of the American League Championship Series. Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz was our guest on the Warm-up Show heard on the Texas Rangers ESPN Radio Network. He joined the show because of his decisive home run in Game 1 off Justin Verlander and for the mere fact that he continued to lurk in that seven-spot of Ron Washington’s lineup.

The home run off Verlander leading off the fourth inning in that rain-soaked game ended an 0-for-10 stretch for Cruz. Think about it; Cruz hit that home run off the obvious choice for the American League Cy Young and did so on the big stage of the ALCS while mired in a lackluster stretch at the plate -- a daunting task, right?

“It’s more simple than it looks,” Cruz said. “He’s going to throw you fastballs most of the time. You have to be prepared for that. My first at-bat, he threw me two-seamers out of the strike zone way inside. That at-bat I just went with a plan to swing at strikes.”

Cruz received three fastballs and delivered the home run in a 2-0 count.

The Rangers' all-time postseason home run record holder boosted his total to eight (later nine with the walk-off grand slam) leading off the seventh inning in Game 2. He saw three sliders before hitting a fastball for a home run on a 1-2 count. Cruz knew the scouting report on starting right-hander Max Sherzer.

“He’s aggressive with his fastball,” Cruz said prior to the game. “He’s got a good slider. We just have to make sure he throws strikes. Sometimes, he has a tendency to be wild. We have to take advantage of that if the situation comes.”

Cruz was 1-for-15 in the ALDS, and he discussed how facing the Rays may have helped for this series in which he is now 4-for-7. Cruz also talked more about life in the batter’s box since the left hamstring strain, the weather affected ALCS, and more. Listen to the podcast.

Follow Bryan Dolgin on Twitter: @RangersRadioBD.