Odor slams Yanks with 30th HR, six RBIs

Second baseman finishing strong after slow start to season

September 29th, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Second baseman is once against tantalizing the Rangers with a strong finish to his season.

Odor compiled six RBIs with a two-run double and a grand slam in carrying the Rangers to a 9-4 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night at Globe Life Park. The six RBIs were a single-game best and also gave him a career-high 93 RBIs. The grand slam gave him 30 home runs on the season, most on the Rangers.

Over his past 25 games, Odor is hitting .261 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs. His .333 on-base percentage and a .641 slugging percentage have left him with a .975 OPS in that stretch.

"It means a lot, especially how this season has been," Odor said. "It's been a tough season but I didn't give up. I kept working hard, kept believing in myself. That's why I'm finishing strong."

Those numbers also led manager Chris Woodward to make a prediction following Saturday's win.

"I know he has done this in the past where he has finished strong," Woodward said. "I hope he has some truth and understanding right now, because if this is the guy we can have all year, we have a superstar."

The Rangers have been waiting for that for a long time. The 30 home runs and 93 RBIs are excellent numbers by any measure, but Odor is also batting just .204/.281/.439 overall. He also has 178 strikeouts with 51 walks.

Over the past 50 years, Odor's .439 slugging percentage is the seventh lowest by a player with 30 or more home runs in a season. His .397 slugging percentage in 2017, when he also hit 30 home runs, is the lowest.

"We really challenged Rougned," Woodward said. "He has never made excuses. He accepted the challenge all year long. Obviously he didn't get off to a great start ... 30 home runs and 93 RBI, that's pretty significant, that's not easy to do. For him to have those numbers and look at his overall numbers and say he wasn't as productive as he could have been ... that shows you how talented he is. If we get this guy next year for all year, look out."

Woodward said Odor has been more "consistent" over the past 25 games. What that nebulous and overused word means is Odor is putting together longer stretches of good at-bats, rather than going through frustrating periods of chasing bad pitches and being his own biggest enemy.

Woodward said any player capable of hitting 30 home runs in three of the past four seasons has the ability to be a damaging force with a bat. What the manager wants Odor to understand is there are new expectations for him about being able to maintain the desired consistency.

"I have been learning a lot about myself this year," Odor said. "I was trying to take what I learn in practice and in the cages and take it into the game. That's one of the hardest things for a hitter. When somebody's not hitting good, it's hard to take that into a game, but I kept trying."

He is seeing the results of his efforts. The challenge is to remember it come Spring Training.

"That's a challenge for a lot of guys in the offseason," Woodward said. "A lot of times, you think you've figured it out and then it kind of goes away. You're starting over almost. I don't want him to start over."