BOSTON -- As soon as Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz went down with a strained hamstring, David Murphy knew he was going to have to find a way to pick up his game and, consequently his team, in Cruz's absence. The best way to do that? Not think about it.
"I feel like I did think about trying to be a replacement for Josh [Hamilton] a little bit when he was hurt earlier in the season," Murphy said. "I put too much pressure on myself that way. Right now, I'm just going to go out and play."
Murphy was 4-for-5 and had a solo home run and two runs scored in the Rangers' 10-0 win over Boston on Friday. The outfielder has an eight-game hitting streak and is batting .469 in that span (15-for-32) with three homers and 10 RBIs. But that streak goes back to Aug. 7. Now that Cruz is out, Murphy is playing more. He is 9-for-16 (.562) in the past five games without Cruz.
"I think the key really is my approach," Murphy said. "My effort level is really low right now. I felt so great coming out of spring training. When I got my opportunities early on, it was like I was trying to hit a home run every single at-bat. I don't know if I was trying to prove that I was capable of being in the lineup every day since Day 1 or what. But once my effort level kind of went down a little bit, my results started to improve."
Murphy said he's worked on flattening his swing with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and said that he feels like his setup is better and the swing more consistent. The results are showing that.
The Rangers clearly need the Murphy that was so crucial last September. Then, he hit .355 and had 17 RBIs with Hamilton on the shelf with broken ribs. He has a history of good second halves and hopes this might be one more.