Charged for the Playoffs -- The Top of the Order

April 25, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) and second baseman Ian Kinsler (5) congratulate each other after scoring in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

The Rangers are 6-2 in the month of August. I bet you didn't know that, right? I'm betting that you'd have said 4-4, maybe 3-5, something like that. But no, they've won 6 of their last 8 heading into this short three game homestand with the Tigers.

And remember all that talk about how the Rangers were the worst team in the A.L. in terms of scoring runs in July? Well, right now, the Rangers have scored the most runs in baseball in the month of August -- 59, tied with the Giants (who have played one more game). The Rangers have scored almost three times as many runs as the Rays have (20) in August. The Rangers have scored more than three times as many runs in August as the Astros have (18). The Rangers have scored at least 10 runs more in August than every other team in baseball other than the Giants and the Tigers (57).

And this outburst is being keyed by the top of the order.

Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus have come under some criticism for their offensive performance of late, with Kinsler being dinged for slowing down since signing his contract extension in April, and Elvis for being one of the key players who struggled in July. Their performance is amplified by the fact that they occupy the top two spots in the order, and thus are counted on to set the table for the big bats in the middle of the order.

August has seen Kinsler and Andrus surge offensively. Kinsler is leading the Rangers in OPS (1152) and runs (10) for the month, putting up a .400/486/.667 slash line. Andrus, meanwhile, has a .441/.472/.588 slash line, with his OPS being third on the team in August, and while he has just 5 runs scored this season in August -- a little fewer than you would expect -- he is second on the team in the month of August in RBIs, with 8, trailing just Josh Hamilton. Kinsler's .486 OBP is first on the team this month, while Andrus is second in OBP at .472.

The Rangers have a dangerous lineup because they have quality hitters from top to bottom, guys who can do damage when given the opportunity. But the lineup is going to have its most success when the guys at the top of the order are getting on base and setting up potential big innings. With Kinsler and Andrus both getting on base almost half the time this month, it is no surprise that the Rangers are leading the majors in runs, and have managed to win 6 of 8 during a stretch when their pitching has been shaky.

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