Is any player enjoying more of a breakout in the MLB playoffs than Nelson Cruz? Delmon Young had an excellent ALDS for the Tigers, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder have been destroying the ball for the Brewers, and Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando have been studs in the Texas bullpen, but no player is having a bigger impact in the LCS than Nelson Cruz.
The Rangers right fielder made two key plays to help Texas beat Detroit 7-3 in 11 innings Wednesday night. With one out in the eighth inning, he caught a Delmon Young fly ball deep in right field and threw home to nail Miguel Cabrera who was tagging from third. We joked about how slowly Cabrera was running, but the fact is Cruz’s throw was so strong, and so accurate, that it would have gotten out almost any base runner.
Then in the 11th inning, after Mike Napoli singled in the tie-breaking run, Cruz slammed a 3-run home run to left field to make it 7-3. The home run made him the first player in MLB history to have a pair of extra innings home runs in the same playoff series.
Cruz hit a solo home run in Texas’ 3-2 win in Game 1, he hit a walk-off grand slam in Game 2, and a 3-run home run in Game 4. He now has four home runs and nine RBIs in the ALCS, and a whopping 1.685 OPS. Few players have dominated an ALCS so thoroughly. The MVP is likely his if the Rangers can win another one of their next three games.