"They can keep not pitching to him," Washington said. "Vlad will bust their tails. Plus, if Hamilton gets on base, he can steal the next bag. He can hurt them in other ways. Keep walking him and keep giving Vlad opportunities."But Guerrero is hitting .214 (6-for-28) with just one double and one RBI in seven playoff games, while Cruz is hitting .407 (11-for-27) with three home runs in the postseason. Ian Kinsler, hitting in the No. 6 hole, leads the Rangers with seven RBIs in the playoffs. But Washington remains confident that Guerrero will break out soon. "Very confident," he said. "It's just a matter of one pitch. One swing of the bat can unlock whatever demons are there." The opposition's respect for Hamilton comes at a time when he is still dealing with the pain and discomfort of two small fractures in his left ribcage. Hamilton injured the ribs falling into a wall in center field on Sept. 4 at Target Field in Minnesota. He was sidelined until the final three games of the regular season and still doesn't feel 100 percent. Even so, he goes all out. He has four stolen bases in the playoffs, one fewer than leadoff hitter Elvis Andrus. The two combined on a double steal that allowed Andrus to swipe home in the first inning on Sunday afternoon. "I adapt," Hamilton said. "If you notice, I have dirt marks on one side of my body and not the other. I'm not intentionally doing that, but I'm doing it nonetheless." Both Hamilton and Andrus had two stolen bases in Game 2. That's only the 10th time in the postseason that two teammates have had at least two stolen bases in a playoff game.
Hamilton is in pain, but he remains a threat in multiple ways.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.