He Isn't MVP, but Ian Kinsler is a Critical Ranger

It's common sense that Ian Kinsler should not have been suspended.

It's also becoming pretty clear that he's vital to the Texas Rangers' post-season success.

Loved me some Andres Blanco. He filled in with OK defense, scrappy base-running and even some pop in his bat. But in Wednesday night's 11-7 win over the Detroit Tigers I was reminded how special Kinsler is.

Because of injuries - the ankle in spring training and the groin strain more recently - he's not going to have one of those 30 homer/30 steals years. It's that versatility, however, that makes him so dang important.


Last night he provided a sacrifice bunt that assisted a run in the second inning. In the fifth his single plated another run and, when the game got a little nail-bitey at 9-7, he launched a two-run homer onto Greene's Hill in center.

Rare is the player who can beat you with the bunt and the blast.

At times he gets a little lazy and he's quick to over-swing and pop up, but no doubt the Rangers are a better team with Kinsler in the lineup. In 12 games since returning from the disabled list he's 14 of 46 with three homers, seven RBI and 13 runs scored. With him back in the lineup and back in the groove, Texas has won seven in a row to slam the AL West door shut.

And good for Major League Baseball. A league plagued by so many umpiring gaffes this season shouldn't be such a stickler about ridiculous rules such as a previously ejected player returning to the field for a post-game celebration after a walk-off homer.

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