The Rangers (21-23) might not be gaining much ground on the first-place Astros (29-16), but they've been playing damn good lately. After taking two of three from the Red Sox in Boston, Texas capped off an impressive 5-1 road trip by sweeping the Yankees on Sunday Night.
Prince Fielder (.358/.412/.551, 166 wRC+) went 3-5 with a double and two runs driven in, as he continues his absolutely gaudy month of May (.368/.429/.655, 7 HRs, 197 wRC+) heading into the game. For almost an entire calendar month, Prince has looked better than I think anyone could have possibly hoped for. (Possible aside: he's actually been really, really good all season.)
Almost a month ago to the day, after seeing the Rangers up close in Anaheim, I wrote:
It's almost like other teams are pitching to Prince Fielder as if he's a single's hitter until he proves he isn't one. Once he starts popping balls over the fence with more regularity, it's a safe bet to assume his walk numbers will start piling a bit more.
That is what I find so fascinating about Fielder's renaissance in 2015. Although his power has began showing some life over the last month (12 extra-base hits), his approach at the plate runs completely counter to his career norms. His 6.3% walk rate is about half his lifetime average (12.8%), and his 11.1% strikeout rate is six percent less than his very respectable career mean (17.1%). We won't know for sure until we see it over the course of an entire season, but Prince has redefined -- or adapted, I guess -- his game to play up in the modern day baseball climate.