Rangers ready for a 2nd shot

Baltimore Sun - - MLB & ORIOLES - By Stephen Hawkins

ARLINGTON, Texas — Elvis An­drus re­fuses to be de­fined by what hap­pened last Oc­to­ber, when the Texas Rangers short­stop made two er­rors on rou­tine plays.

There was the mis­played grounder in the dis­as­trous sev­enth in­ning of the ALDS-de­cid­ing fifth game in Toronto. Later came a dropped throw on what would have been a sure force out in the in­ning, Tears flowed from An­drus’ eyes af­ter that loss, a gut­punch fin­ish just short of the feel­ing the Rangers had in 2011 af­ter twice com­ing within a strike of win­ning their first World Series.

But out of that also came a fresh drive for An­drus, who at 28 and in his eighth sea­son is the team’s long­est-tenured po­si­tion player.

“I put it on my shoul­der, and I’m built for that,” An­drus said. “I knew it was go­ing to be a chal­leng­ing year for me. But I was ex­cited to see what I was made of, and the reg­u­lar sea­son was the first step. I’m way more ready for the post­sea­son this year.”

The AL West cham­pion Rangers, in the play­offs for the fifth time in seven years, have home-field ad­van­tage for the en­tire post­sea­son. They host those same Blue Jays to­day in Game 1 of the ALDS.

An­drus had his first .300 sea­son (.302) and also had ca­reer highs with eight home runs, 69 RBIs and 46 ex­tra-base hits. His 70 strike­outs were the fewest in his ca­reer.

Third base­man Adrian Bel­tre knows what hap­pened to An­drus in Toronto last year could have hap­pened to any­body.

“We talked about it af­ter that hap­pened, and that pushed him to learn from that mis­take and have more mo­ti­va­tion to come this year and do what he did,” Bel­tre said. “It was nice to see that in­stead of break­ing him, it made him stronger.”

An­drus has seen the re­plays of that in­ning a few times and said it doesn’t af­fect him. The clips are sure to be shown this post­sea­son as long as the Rangers keep play­ing.

“I would like to see that quite a few times,” An­drus said. “I have no prob­lem with that.” Banged-up bullpen: Closer Roberto Osuna ex­ited the Blue Jays’ wild­card vic­tory over the Ori­oles with a sore shoul­der. Tests did not re­veal any dam­age, and Osuna said the sore­ness might be a re­sult of fa­tigue. If he is not avail­able, Ja­son Grilli would likely han­dle the ninth in­ning. The Blue Jays al­ready are with­out setup man Joaquin Benoit. Pair of aces: For the first time, the Rangers have Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish in their play­off ro­ta­tion. Darvish, whose only post­sea­son ap­pear­ance was a loss in the 2012 wild-card game to the Ori­oles, missed all of 2015 re­cov­er­ing from Tommy John surgery. Hamels, ac­quired in a July 2015 trade, has a 3.03 ERA in 15 post­sea­son games and was the 2008 World Series MVP for the Phillies. Un­ruly fans: The noisy crowds in Canada are gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for bad be­hav­ior. Toronto po­lice were look­ing for the fan who threw a beer can at Ori­oles OF Hyun Soo Kim in the wild-card game. Dur­ing Game 5 of last year’s ALDS, Blue Jays fans lit­tered the field with de­bris af­ter a dis­puted call. Close calls: The Rangers were an MLB-record 36-11 in one-run games, led the ma­jors with 49 come­back wins and had an MLB-best 21 wins in their last at-bat.

LM OTERO/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rangers 2B Rougned Odor, left, and SS Elvis An­drus are eager for an ALDS re­match against the Blue Jays. Game 1: 4:38 p.m. to­day Blue Jays (un­de­cided) at Rangers (Hamels 15-5) Game 2: 1:08 p.m. Fri­day Blue Jays (un­de­cided) at Rangers (Darvish 7-5) Game 3: 7:38 p.m. Sun­day Rangers (Lewis 6-5) at Blue Jays (un­de­cided) Game 4: TBD Mon­day* Rangers (Perez 10-11) at Blue Jays (un­de­cided) Game 5: TBA Wed­nes­day* Blue Jays at Rangers

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