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Nelson Cruz killed the Rangers

With the American League West title firmly gone to Oakland, your Texas Rangers can now focus on not blowing one of the TWO wildcard spots for a playoff spot that appeared all but a certainty a few weeks ago.

The Rangers can't play the Astros enough.

Losers of seven straight games at the most important time of the season, the Rangers can't buy runs at a historic clip. Hell, they can't even get a lead. They have not led in any of these seven games; on the bright side, at least they aren't blowing the leads to lose.

They're losing in a hurry.

Nelson20cruzDespite the surprise addition of Alex Rios from the White Sox, the loss of Nelson Cruz to the 50-game suspension eventually not only caught up to his team but has crippled this lineup.

His last game was Aug. 4, a 4-0 win against the A's in Oakland. On Aug. 5, the Rangers were two behind the A's for first place. Today, they are 6.5 games out. They are 19-18 since Cruz left the lineup.

Since being acquired by the White Sox, Rios is batting .292 with four home runs and 15 RBI, seven doubles and one triple. This is not his fault, but he is not Nelson Cruz.

Neither is catcher A.J. Pierzynski. No one is providing protection, against quality pitching, for Adrian Beltre.

The Rangers third baseman has apparently forgotten how to hit.

In August, he hit .381 with 5 home runs and 21 RBI. Decent numbers, right?
In September, he is batting .241 with 1 double, zero home runs and 4 RBI. My math says those numbers are below average. 

If he isn't driving in runs, which he isn't, this team is screwed ... which they are.

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