The Elvis Comeback Special

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After going 0-for-3 in the last game before the All-Star break – a 5-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers on July 14 – Elvis Andrus saw his batting average for the season drop to .242, a whopping 33 points lower than the .275 average he brought into 2013.  At the season’s traditional midpoint, his OBP (.300), SLG (.280), and OPS (.580) were all significantly below his career averages for each (.339, .346, and .685, respectively).
Though he’s certainly never posted eye-popping offensive numbers, Elvis has consistently been one of the key catalysts in the Rangers’ lineup during his first four years with the team.  But an absolutely abysmal June, during which he posted a disturbingly low slash line of .196/.265/.216, had turned him from a catalyst to a liability at the plate.

During a team workout toward the end of the All-Star break, Elvis received wise counsel from one of the greatest catalysts in Rangers history: Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.  Like Elvis, Pudge also had experienced the self-imposed pressure that comes from wanting to prove the team had made the right decision in re-signing him to a lengthy contract extension.

The message from Pudge to Elvis was simple, but direct: you’ve already earned that money, so just go out and play your game.  And based on the results, Elvis clearly seems to have taken Pudge’s advice to heart.

Since the All-Star break (and Pudge serving as the Yoda to Elvis’ Luke), the Rangers are 18-9, in no small part due to the desperately-needed offensive resurgence of Elvis.  During that span, Elvis has hit .337, bringing his season average all the way back up to .260 (much closer to his career average).  Meanwhile, his season OBP (.322), SLG (.313), and OPS (.635) are all rising, as well.  He even hit his first home run of the season on Saturday night (yes, let’s say it all together: ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!).

As great an addition as Alex Rios appears to be, having Elvis Andrus continue to perform at the level he’s shown throughout his career will be just as important to this team during their run toward the postseason.

Bob Bland is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at Bob.Bland@ShutDownInning.com or  on Twitter @SDIBob.
Bob Bland

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