Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 7/18/12
Josh Hamilton had one of the greatest starts to a season in the history of baseball. His numbers were bound to tail off at some point. Unfortunately, they've fallen off a cliff. When he hit four home runs in a win over the Orioles on May 8, he seemed well on his way to another MVP season. That remarkable stretch ignited talks of how the Texas Rangers desperately needed to sign their center fielder to a long-term contract. At that point, his latest relapse with alcohol and all the baggage that comes along with him felt like minor distractions. But only two months removed from that stretch that saw his average at .400 on May 17, Hamilton briefly dipped below .300 during Tuesday's 6-1 win over the Oakland A's. He struck out three times in the game before hitting a towering homer the opposite way and later driving in a run with a sacrifice fly. Those were positive signs, but it's not enough to suggest Hamilton's ready to pull out of this prolonged slump. You knew his average would dip at some point because of his unwillingness to accept anything other than intentional walks. As he aged, Barry Bonds continued to hit for a solid average because he had unbelievable discipline at the plate. Hamilton has neither the patience nor the desire to take that type of approach. On Tuesday, I asked Nolan Ryan on his weekly KESN-FM 103.3 radio show if he had an explanation for why Hamilton's numbers at the plate have been plummeting. "What I see is he's not as selective as he was earlier in the year, and pitchers are expanding the zone that they are pitching to him," said Ryan. "And I think he at times is frustrated because he's not getting strikes to swing at. I think his frustration has shown at times. He wants to do well and he's a very aggressive hitter. He always has been and that hasn't changed. I think it's a combination of those things." If Hamilton can go on another tear at some point in the second half, he'll probably be able to preserve his immense value on the open market. But it seems fair to suggest that his asking price has probably come down a bit. That might be good news for the Rangers in terms of being able to re-sign him at some point, but they'd much prefer to see the guy who was the best player in baseball in April and May. I have a sense the Rangers have made peace with the fact that Hamilton will likely be playing for another team next season. And Ryan doesn't see any upside at all to Hamilton's recent struggles in terms of having more leverage. "It's a long season and I think everyone looks at the total numbers and the impact someone like Josh has on a ballclub," said Ryan. Hamilton had already started his slide at the plate when he ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The Rangers weren't exactly thrilled with the story because it included quotes from Hamilton's wife Katie indicating how ludicrous it was for folks to suggest that Josh needed the organization. The other thing reporters and fans keep saying is, 'Josh needs Texas; he needs the comfort of this team.' Uh, we need Jesus. We need God. He goes with us wherever we are. Yes, we're comfortable in Texas. But maybe God hasn't called us to comfort. I mean, he didn't call Jesus to comfort." Hey, if you want to compare your family's plight to Jesus, then by all means. But you should probably have the sense to stop reminding the Rangers how little your family owes them. Josh has realized this and that's why he stopped making annoying comments about how he owed it to "the union" to get the highest dollar in free agency. He's now trying to recapture what he had earlier in the season. Even after a home run and two RBI in Tuesday's win, Hamilton is mired in a 3-for-27 slump heading into Wednesday's game against the A's. He was 1-for-10 with six strikeouts in the three-game series against the Mariners following the All-Star break. Hamilton admitted that not having a normal routine while preparing for the All-Star game affected his preparation. The most disturbing sight has been his tendency of late to give up on at bats after falling behind in the count. It just doesn't appear like he has a plan in those situations. Pitching coach Scott Coolbaugh mentioned to him Tuesday night that he was starting his swing too quickly and needed to wait on the ball. Hamilton told reporters that the tip helped him in the eighth inning against left-hander Jordan Norberto because he was looking for slider and was then able to drive a fastball out of the park. The Rangers have a good chance to win the division whether or not Hamilton heats up in the coming months. But it's hard to fathom them winning in the postseason without him making a significant contribution. Perhaps it would be a good idea for him to bypass the cover stories and screenplays in the second half. Hamilton's at his best when he's wearing blinders.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Clippers set new low bar for NBA playoff futility

Rendon becomes 13th player with 10 RBI in single game

LaVar Ball says he had no role in firing of sons' HS coach

Manziel not planning bachelor party, focused on NFL comeback

Bills owner struggles to answer question about competency

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Olynk cracks funny joke about Thomas' missing tooth

NFL exec: Bears GM Ryan Pace 'just got fired with this draft'

John Elway consulted Jim Kelly before drafting nephew Chad

McCloughan a possible candidate for Bills' GM vacancy?

Rockies-Diamondbacks game included a broken-bat homer and the longest homer of 2017

Report: Texans wouldn’t take Jay Cutler’s calls

Getaway Day: The Nationals may be a bonafide powerhouse

NBA playoffs: Rivalries to rematches, stories to follow in the second round

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

Box Score 4/28: NFL Draft gets younger every year

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The 'NFL Draft Day is finally upon us' quiz

Most memorable 'NFL Draft weekend drama' stories

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Rendon becomes 13th player with 10 RBI in single game

Getaway Day: Nats may be a bonafide powerhouse

NBA playoffs: Rivalries to rematches, stories to follow in the second round

Best of Yardbarker: Don't sleep on the Stanley Cup Playoffs

The 'Beast Mode as a parting gift' quiz

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Our favorite undrafted players of all time

Kicking it: Orlando surges while the Galaxy struggles

Three Up, Three Down: Madison Bumgarner gets grounded

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker