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'Heart' of the Rangers: Rougned Odor double beats Rockies on Opening Day

The man in the heart of the Rangers batting order is the valve to their 2020 playoff hopes.
Credit: AP
Texas Rangers' Rougned Odor follows through on an RBI-double off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher German Marquez (48) that scored Danny Santana during the sixth inning of an opening day baseball game Friday, July 24, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

ARLINGTON, Texas — To those outside the $1.2 billion confines of Globe Life Field, the Texas Rangers most notable superstar (or "best player") is up for debate.

House money is on 2019 All-Star Joey Gallo or fan favorite Elvis Andrus, but Opening Day ace Lance Lynn has a case as do newcomers and former All-Stars Todd Frazier and Corey Kluber.

Inside the the confines of the Rangers 72-degree newly christened ballpark, the Rangers most important player is not up for debate.

You ready for this?

Brace youself.

It's Rougned Odor.

The man in the heart of the order is the heart of the Rangers offense.

Ignore the recency bias of Odor accounting for the only RBI in Friday night's season opening win over the Colorado Rockies, 1-0, in Arlington. (The first RBI in the history of Globe Life Field.)

Ignore the fact he finished 1-2 with an RBI and a walk -- something that seemed foreign to the 26-year-old lefty from Venezuela in early 2018.

Ignore it all because ignorance is bliss.

The Rangers second baseman is coming off a mediocre 2019 campaign when he hit a poor .205, but he connected on 30 home runs for the third time in four years. 

He hit nine of them of them in September.

Odor finished 2019 with a career-high 93 RBI and in the month of September had an OPS (on-base % + slugging %) of .984 -- dramatically better than his year-end average of .721.

For comparison's sake: If Odor maintained that .984 OPS for a full season, it would have ranked seventh in Major League Baseball.

However, inconsistency has been Odor's brand since he put on the Rangers uniform in 2014.

He's streakier than Frank the Tank from "Old School." 

It sounds cliche but he's a roller coaster at the plate. When he's hot, he's hot.  When he's not, he's not. 

Odor has never shown consistent production over a 162-game season, but he has shown dominance in bursts.

In 2018, Odor hit 18 home runs. He hit 13 of them in July/August.

That type of torrid hitting is what the Rangers desperately need in this abbreviated 60-game season.

If the pitching staff and bullpen rise to the occasion, the Rangers will end the three-year playoff drought.

Rougned Odor is lightning. 

You know he'll strike. You're just not sure when and where.

If Opening Day was the thunder, a storm may be coming.

Brace yourself.

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