ARLINGTON -- Despite Josh Hamilton's recent struggles, the Rangers are confident that he will play a big part in their postseason success again this year.
Hamilton did not homer in his last nine regular-season games, had two hits in 13 at-bats when the Rangers were swept by the A's in their last series, and dropped a routine fly ball that allowed the A's to take a 7-5 lead in the regular-season finale on Wednesday. But Hamilton's 43 home runs and 128 RBIs this season, both ranking second in the Majors, -- along with the role he played in each of the last two trips the Rangers have made to the World Series -- leave his manager and teammates unconcerned.
"We're certainly looking tonight to jump on his back and take a ride," manager Ron Washington said. "There's no reason to think that Hamilton isn't going to show up for us now. ... He can take a ballgame over, and you never know what that day is going to be. I'm a very optimistic guy and I believe that today is the day we can jump on Hamilton's back."
Hamilton hit .357 with six homers and 12 RBIs this season against the Rangers' Friday opponent, the Orioles. Four of those home runs and eight RBIs came in one game, a 10-8 win on May 8.
"We obviously depend on Josh a lot," Michael Young said. "As far as the end of the regular season, it's not on Josh. If it was on any of us, it wouldn't really matter right now anyway."