July 7, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz (17) celebrates with team mates after hitting a walk off RBI double to beat the Minnesota Twins in the tenth inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers won 4-3 beating the Minnesota Twins. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE
2012 has been a streaky season for the first place Texas Rangers -- they were red hot to start the season, mediocre in May, had a great June, and now have had a losing record in the month of July. Texas has won just 8 games in July against 12 losses despite having allowed the 4th fewest runs in the A.L. during the month, because the offense has scored the fewest runs in the league during July.
Although the Rangers' offensive slump has been almost team-wide, Nelson Cruz has proven to be immune to the struggles that have plagued the rest of the hitters, and has carried the offense during this poor stretch. Cruz has put up a .274/.346/.507 line in the month, and is leading the Rangers in July in OPS and RBIs, as well as putting up 8 doubles and 3 home runs this month.
Cruz had a rough first three months of the season, and his resurgence has come at a key time for the Rangers. With Josh Hamilton, who looked like a slam-dunk for the MVP Award at the start of the season, cratering of late, Michael Young continuing his season-long slump, and Craig Gentry and David Murphy (who were surprising first-half overachievers) coming back down to earth, Cruz's hot streak has been instrumental in keeping the Rangers' heads above water while fighting through this rough stretch.
The 2012 season as a whole has been mildly disappointing for Cruz, who has a .259/.321/.444 slash line and just 14 homers so far this year, but his performance in July gives rise to some optimism about what he'll be able to do the rest of the season. With the Rangers seeking their third straight A.L. Championship, and fighting to claim their first ever World Series title, a continuation of this level of performance from Cruz would go a long way towards helping the Rangers achieve their goals.