Extra Bases: Washington's thoughts on playing with a big lead

April, 20, 2014
Apr 20
7:45
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- According to baseball’s unwritten rules, there is a right and wrong way to play a game with a big lead like the Texas Rangers enjoyed in Friday’s 12-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Rangers manager Ron Washington in his pregame media conference Saturday shared his thoughts on strategy with a big lead.

The key takeaway is a 9-0 lead -- like the Rangers enjoyed in the third inning Friday -- is too early to let off the gas.

"I’m not going to wait around until they catch up to open up our arsenal again," Washington said.

As the manager pointed out, a lot can happen in the six remaining innings.

"A grand slam and they are back in the game."

The manager said he wants his players to keep playing the game. That means score when they have a chance and go from first to third on a base hit if the opportunity is there.

But a concession to a big lead could be not starting a runner, something he might do in a close game, as a defense against a double play.

Defensively, a concession could be for his first baseman to play behind an opponent’s baserunner rather than hold the runner, giving up the second base.

Substitutions have to be limited. The Rangers' bench consists of only four position players.

With the lead at 11-0 in the seventh inning on Friday, Washington replaced Shin-Soo Choo with Michael Choice and Elvis Andrus with Josh Wilson.

A winner again, Colby Lewis touched by standing ovation

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
11:36
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The ovation from the 44,811 at Globe Life Field framed Colby Lewis’ night perfectly.

Many in the crowd were standing before Rangers manager Ron Washington reached the mound to take the ball from Lewis after a solid second start in what could develop into quite a comeback story.

[+] EnlargeColby Lewis
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsColby Lewis earned his first win in two years after elbow and hip surgeries sidelined him for half of 2012 and the entirety of the 2013 season.
"I’d take 30 more [starts] just like that when you get that kind of love and support from the fans," the 34-year-old said. "The reaction was awesome."

The Rangers defeated the Chicago White Sox 6-3 Saturday, and Lewis was rewarded with the win. Asked if he could remember his previous victory, Lewis thought for a moment and said no.

It is the kind of story that appeals to a Rangers fan -- successful starter instrumental in playoff success comes back from elbow and hip surgeries that sidelined him for half of 2012 and all of the 2013 major league season.

"That ovation was pretty nice," Washington said. "Colby deserved it. He showed improvement tonight, and that’s what we were looking for. He did a great job."

In 5⅓ innings, Lewis held the White Sox to six hits and one run, having thrown 85 pitches. In his first return start against the Seattle Mariners on Monday, he allowed eight hits and four runs in 5⅓ innings.

"I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t go a little deeper," Lewis said. "I felt more relaxed. I got the jitters out of the way on Monday. I’m definitely excited."

Lewis rated 60 of his 88 pitches in his first outing as high quality. This time, he felt like he was throwing downhill on all 85.

The second inning for Lewis was telling. He escaped, allowing only one run after Chicago loaded the bases with no outs.

"It was damage control at that point," Lewis said. "I threw a slider off the plate [to Alexei Ramirez] and he chased it."

The result was a double-play ball to third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. A run scored, but Lewis struck out Tyler Flowers to end the threat.

Before the game, Washington talked about Lewis’ influence on younger players.

"Younger guys know they can bounce it off Colby," the manager said. "He gives them a yellow brick road they can follow."

Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, White Sox 3

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
10:09
PM CT
video

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers ran their winning streak to five with a 6-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night at Globe Life Park.

The comeback of Colby Lewis was the big story. Lewis got the win in his second start since last pitching in the majors in July 2012 -- sidelined by hip and elbow surgeries.

Lewis got a warm ovation, with many of the 44,811 fans at Globe Life Park standing when manager Ron Washington made the call to a reliever with one out in the sixth.

Lewis had great command, throwing strikes on 59 of his 85 pitches. He walked one and left with a 5-1 lead. The most impressive aspect of his night was allowing only one run in the second inning after the Sox loaded the bases with no outs. A double-play ball by Alexei Ramirez and a strikeout of Tyler Flowers limited the damage.

Good ole Mr. Wilson: The key hit of the night belonged to Josh Wilson. The Rangers second baseman, batting at the bottom of the order, lined a two-out, two-run single to left field in the fourth inning to increase the Texas lead to 4-1. Wilson scored a few moments later on a double by Shin-Soo Choo.

Closing shop: Alexi Ogando scuffled in the eighth inning, allowing two runs, but otherwise, it was another solid night for the Rangers' bullpen. With the potential tying run on base, Ogando was able to induce Ramirez to ground into his second double play of the night.

Prince finds HR porch: The fourth inning was a very good one for Prince Fielder. After a couple of nice defensive plays in the top of the inning, Fielder led off with his second home run of the season to stake the Rangers to a 2-1 lead. Texas went on to score three more in the frame. Fielder's home run into the lower deck of the right-field stands traveled an estimated 388 feet.

Strong D: Perhaps overlooked this homestand -- since the three-error game on Monday against the Seattle Mariners -- has been solid defensive play by the Rangers. No infielder has been charged with an error since Monday. The Rangers' overall errorless streak of 29 innings ended in the fourth on an errant throw by catcher Robinson Chirinos. Standout catches were made by Alex Rios and Leonys Martin.

Kouz goes deep: Kevin Kouzmanoff extended his hit streak to 10 games by hitting his second home run of the season to lead off the eighth. He’s hit safely in every game since joining the team.

Quick start: For the third straight game and the fourth time this homestand, the Rangers grabbed a lead in the first inning. The first three batters hit safely. Rios, playing against his former team, delivered the RBI with an opposite-field double. Rios, who finished with three hits, had said the previous night after a 12-run outburst that hitting is contagious.

No challenge: A couple of close out calls on Rangers baserunners gave Washington thought of using the new challenge system. Elvis Andrus was tagged out in a rundown at first base in the first inning, and Martin was caught stealing an inning later. In both cases, Washington refrained, but he did have a chat with umpire John Tumpane on the Martin call.

Up next: The Rangers send Robbie Ross (1-0, 1.00 ERA) to the mound in the conclusion of the 10-game homestand on Sunday. He will be opposed by Erik Johnson (0-1, 6.35 ERA) in a 2:05 start on KLIF 570 and Fox Sports Southwest.

Lewis gets 1st win in 2 years, Texas 6-3 over WSox

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
10:05
PM CT
video

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Colby Lewis pitched into the sixth inning for his first win in nearly two years, Prince Fielder homered and the Texas Rangers beat the Chicago White Sox 6-3 on Saturday night.

Lewis (1-1) struck out four while allowing only one run over 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander, the first known major league pitcher to return from a unique hip procedure, won for the first time since June 17, 2012.

Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Rios each had three hits for the Rangers, who won their fifth consecutive game. Kevin Kouzmanoff homered leading off the eighth, giving him a 10-game hitting streak to start his Rangers career.

Texas went ahead to stay on Fielder's high-arching blast to right leading off the fourth for a 2-1 lead. It was only his second homer in his 18 games with Texas.

Jose Quintana (1-1) allowed five runs and nine hits over five innings.


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Texas Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison was scheduled to throw 95 pitches or go six innings in Saturday's Double-A Frisco rehab start. He was so efficient that he didn't even get to 95 pitches and still managed to go eight innings against Corpus Christi.

Harrison threw 86 pitches (54 strikes) in his eight innings, allowing just three hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He had nine ground ball outs and four fly ball outs and faced 27 batters. Harrison's lone walk came in the second, and he got the next batter to ground into a double play. He helped Frisco to a club-record 10th straight win.

"My head was in the right place, and I was just focused on competing and making a pitch at a time," Harrison said. "I wasn't worried about pitch counts or innings or anything. I was just worried about getting guys out."

The Rangers must decide if they want Harrison to make one more rehab start to build up even more arm strength, or if he's ready to join the rotation, possibly at some point next week. They have until early May to make a decision, which is when Harrison's 30-day rehab window will be over. Harrison's next turn would come on Thursday, when Texas is off, so it's possible the Rangers could slide him into the rotation in Seattle next weekend, if they believe he's ready.

Is Harrison ready to start in the big leagues?

"Yes," he said. "As of tonight, yes. My head is in the right place, and I know why I was struggling before and I got that straightened out. It wasn't anything mechanical. My mentality out there tonight, I know I can replicate that. I don't know what their plan is, but I'll find out tomorrow, I think.

"It's in their hands. If I need to throw another one, I'll go and do that, but I think I'm ready."

Jim Adduci (finger) latest to go on DL

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
5:07
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The number of Rangers on the disabled list swelled to 10 with the addition of Jim Adduci on Saturday.

The outfielder suffered a broken little finger on his left hand sliding into second base in the third inning of a 12-0 win over the White Sox on Friday night and is expected to be out for four weeks.

The Rangers led 2-0 at the time when Adduci tagged at first base and advanced on Donnie Murphy’s deep fly to center field. A good throw from Sox center fielder Adam Eaton made it a close play, forcing a head-first slide by Adduci.

Adduci remained in the game and contributed two more hits including a double, raising his batting average to .462.

But when he awoke Saturday morning, Adduci had a swollen finger. Manager Ron Washington, demonstrating he hasn’t lost his sense of humor among all the mishaps, suggested Adduci "might have broken it in his sleep."

That the Rangers have managed to win 10 of 17 games so far without key personnel is a reflection on the entire organization, Washington said. While the team can’t control injuries, "we control our attitude, and things are working out well," he said

Had Washington known before the season that he could field a team with the number of players currently on the disabled list, he said he would have been "taken aback."

Adduci’s spot on the 25-man roster will be filled by 20-year-old switch-hitting infielder Luis Sardinas, who was promoted Saturday from Double-A Frisco. Sardinas, signed as a non-drafted signee in 2009, was hitting .238 with the RoughRiders.

Players on the disabled list don’t surrender their lockers in the Rangers clubhouse. And new additions, like Sardinas, are making lockers scarce.

"We’re down to only a couple of vacant lockers on the corners," said Rangers equipment and home clubhouse manager Richard "Hoggy" Price. “We usually don‘t see this until September [when the rosters expand]. But if they bring 'em up, we will find a place for them."

Help for Figueroa: Washington sees Friday’s addition of left-handed reliever Aaron Poreda as a move to take some of the load off middle-inning lefty Pedro Figueroa. Last week, Figueroa pitched in four games over a six-day stretch.

Figueroa became the 20th major league pitcher since 1914 to earn his first two wins on consecutive days. The Rangers' Robbie Ross Jr. was the last to do it in 2012.

Picking 'em up: Third baseman Adrian Beltre, who is eligible to come off the disabled list in six days, was out taking ground balls a few hours before tonight’s 7:05 start at Globe Life Park.

Slow to praise: If Washington is conservative with his praise of center fielder Leonys Martin, there is a reason. "I just want him to keep playing. I don’t want him reading about how good he is."

Martin was a double away from hitting for the cycle Friday. His three hits raised his average to .315.

Extra Bases: Adduci produces in first start

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
7:45
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It took 17 games this season for Jim Adduci to finally see his name in the starting lineup.

When the chance came, the 28-year-old outfielder was ready. In five plate appearances, Adduci had three hits (including a double), scored twice and had an RBI.

"I feel like when my time is called, I’m ready to go," Adduci said. "My thinking was to go out there and have fun."

Adduci produced the second run in the Rangers’ 12-0 win over the Chicago White Sox Friday night with an infield groundout in the first inning. He followed with singles in the third and fourth innings and a double in the sixth.

Adduci entered the game as the only Rangers position player without a start, but he had produced when given the chance. In eight at-bats going into Friday, he had three hits for a .375 batting average. After Friday, that average is up to .462.

Manager Ron Washington, who seems to have a knack for knowing when to tap a reserve, said it had been on his mind for a while to start Adduci.

"He needs to play," the manager said before the game. "We need to get him out there."

Tonight: Colby Lewis makes his second comeback start against tough White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana in the middle game of the three-game series at Globe Life Park.

The 34-year-old Lewis allowed eight hits and four runs (three earned) in a 7-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Monday. His previous major league start was July 18, 2012. In the meantime, he underwent elbow and hip surgery in the past two years.

"I was anxious to get it over with," Lewis said of his first start.

He never doubted that he could pitch again at the major league level.

"The question was whether I’d get the opportunity," Lewis said. "The Rangers stuck with me."

Now, Lewis wants to repay that loyalty.

"Colby will always be Colby," Washington said with a tone of respect. "He pitches us deep in games."

Finishing the job important to Perez

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
11:22
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Martin Perez wanted to finish the job.

His third victory was as close to a lock as he could expect, with the Texas Rangers holding a 12-0 lead on the Chicago White Sox on Friday night at Globe Life Park.

[+] EnlargeMartin Perez
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezMartin Perez said it wasn't that hard to convince manager Ron Washington to let him go the distance against the White Sox.
But a complete game is a diminishing statistic in modern-day baseball and the 23-year-old left-hander wanted it.

With three more outs to get, Perez had to sell manager Ron Washington on the idea. The pitcher said it wasn’t that hard.

"I told him, 'I’m good,'" Perez recalled. "He told me not to throw too many pitches and to keep the ball down. That’s what I did. It was important to me to finish."

Perez (3-0) completed a three-hit shutout by retiring the White Sox in order on a fly ball, a groundout and a strikeout in the ninth. He cut down the final 12 he faced following a leadoff walk in the sixth, and he didn’t allow a hit after Alexei Ramirez’s single leading off the fifth.

Working quickly and rarely behind in the count, Perez walked only one and struck out eight. He needed only 109 pitches, 70 of which were strikes. His performance came on the heels of a strong eight-inning shutout effort in a 1-0 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday. Perez’s ERA is down to a tidy 1.86.

"He was in control of all his pitches," Rangers designated hitter Alex Rios said. "He could throw any pitch in any count. That makes it hard on hitters."

Said Washington: "He’s doing everything he needs to do. He was attacking and keeping the ball on the ground."

As a result, Perez got 11 outs on ground balls.

The manager came away impressed by the way Perez didn’t let a big lead change his pitching pattern. Just when Washington thought his pitcher might be on the verge of losing concentration, Perez "got back into the mode he was in when the game started."

Said Perez: "I felt comfortable warming up tonight. I could throw the ball where I wanted. And our offense did a great job scoring all those runs."

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Martin Perez pitched a three-hitter for his first career shutout, Leonys Martin drove in four runs and the Texas Rangers routed the Chicago White Sox 12-0 Friday night.

Martin homered and was one of four Texas batters with three hits apiece. Robinson Chirinos also went deep.

Perez (3-0) retired his last 12 batters and struck out eight in his second complete game, including rookie Jose Abreu three times. Perez retired seven straight after Adam Eaton opened the game with a single and never allowed more than one baserunner in an inning.

Martin had a two-run triple and Chirinos hit a two-run homer on the next pitch in seven-run third inning off Felipe Paulino (0-2). Martin homered for a 10-0 lead in the fourth.


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Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, White Sox 0

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
10:00
PM CT
video

ARLINGTON, Texas -- With starter Martin Perez needing only a little offense, the Rangers got him a lot, pounding out 18 hits in an 12-0 beatdown of the Chicago White Sox in the opener of a three-game series Friday night before 40,671 at Globe Life Park.

In what is becoming a routine performance for him, Perez (3-0) efficiently handcuffed the White Sox on three hits, going the distance. Most impressive was the way the left-hander avoided the trap of losing concentration when handed a big lead.
The 12 runs are the most by the Rangers this season. Four Rangers (Alex Rios, Jim Adduci, Leonys Martin and Robinson Chirinos) had three hits. Martin was within a double of hitting for a cycle in the eighth (he struck out) and matched a career high for RBIs with four.

Bottoms up: The bottom two spots in the Rangers' batting order occupied by Martin and Chirinos combined for six hits, six RBIs and a pair of home runs. Chirinos’ third-inning drive over the scoreboard wall in left field traveled an estimated 367 feet, four feet longer than Martin’s fourth-inning liner to lower deck in right.

Re-cycled: Though Martin missed an individual cycle, the Rangers hit for a cycle in the space of seven batters in the seven-run third -- Adduci: single; Martin: triple; Chirinos: home run; Shin-Soo Choo: double. Seven runs in an inning is the most by the Rangers since they hung 11 on the Astros on Aug. 19, 2013, and the major league high this season.

Remember me? The first pitch Rios saw from Chicago starter Felipe Paulino, a brushback, was not something the Rangers' designated hitter might expect from his old club.

If the indignity bothered Rios, he didn’t show it, instead smoking Paulino’s next pitch to center field for a single, the table-setting hit in Texas’ two-run first inning. Later Rios contributed a two-run single when the Rangers broke it open in the third inning.

Streaking Elvis: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus singled in the second inning, giving him hits in 16 of the Rangers’ 17 games. Andrus also stole two bases, giving him four in the past two days and eight for the season.

What kept you: Adduci, the only Rangers position player without a start before Friday, drove in a run with an infield grounder in the first inning and followed it with hits in his next three plate appearances.

Up next: Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis (0-1,6.75 ERA) will be opposed by White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana (1-0) in the second game of the series set for 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.






Was Scheppers slow to reveal injury?

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
6:50
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Is it possible Tanner Scheppers, wanting to hold on to a coveted spot in the starting rotation, was slow to speak up about the inflamed muscle injury in his right elbow that landed him on the 15-day disabled list on Friday?

Scheppers said the tightness he felt was something new to him.

Manager Ron Washington learned of Scheppers’ injury only late on Thursday, and the Texas Rangers’ manager said Scheppers should have "told me sooner."

Scheppers was handed a 4-0 lead on Thursday, and, after two shutout innings, was tagged for six runs in the third inning. He managed to retire only one Mariner in the third before departing.

The pattern, a few good innings mixed in with a clunker, haunted him four starts into the young season.

"It is unacceptable at this level," said Scheppers, who was the Rangers' Opening Day starter.

Washington said he felt Scheppers transitioned to the starter’s role pretty well. "It has been a learning experience for him," the manager said.

But on how Scheppers handled the injury situation, Washington said he’d rather not comment.

"I haven’t had a chance to dig into it," Washington said.

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Tanner Scheppers put on DL

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
5:38
PM CT

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers right-hander Tanner Scheppers was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday due to right elbow muscle inflammation.

"I'm disappointed, but at least the doctor says it is nothing severe," said Scheppers, who is transitioning from a late-inning bullpen role to that of a starter.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Nick Martinez is the most likely candidate to move into Scheppers' place in the rotation Tuesday at Oakland. Scheppers, the Rangers' Opening Day starter, has been plagued by the big inning. In four starts, he is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA.

To fill Scheppers' roster spot, the Rangers purchased the contract of 27-year-old left-hander Aaron Poreda from Round Rock. Poreda was a first-round draft choice of the White Sox in 2007.

"The wake-up call today was one of the best I've ever gotten," the 6-foot-6, 240-pound Poreda said. "The biggest thing I needed to do when I didn't make the team coming out of spring was work on my durability. Coming off Tommy John surgery, I had to get ready to pitch on back-to-back days. I think I'm ready."


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W2W4: Surprising White Sox come to town

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
12:00
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The final series of this 10-game homestand for the Rangers pits them against the Chicago White Sox. Here are a few quick things to keep an eye on:

* The White Sox weren't anybody's pick to contend in the AL Central. And while it's early, the team is playing well, hanging in with the Detroit Tigers near the top of the division. The biggest reason: offense. Chicago has led the AL in runs scored for most of the season and has been in the top three in batting average and OPS. The result is a competitive team playing well right now. The Rangers have lost four consecutive series to the White Sox, dropping nine of 12 games in that span.

* Credit Jose Abreu and Alexei Ramirez for helping that White Sox offense. Ramirez leads the AL with a .390 batting average and Abreu and Ramirez both have four home runs.

* Martin Perez has quietly put up solid numbers to start the 2014 season, going 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 20 innings (three starts). But there is one area he wants to improve: walks. Perez has walked three batters in each of his last two starts, something he needs to cut down on as the season progresses. His lone start against the White Sox came in August of last year. He gave up four runs and eight hits in seven innings.

* Walkoffs. The Rangers have already had four of them at home. This team has shown resiliency and a flair for the dramatic. Don't be shocked if they've got one more in them before they head on the road to Oakland and Seattle.

* Colby Lewis should be over any jitters from making his first start in two years and is now just a normal member of the rotation. His next turn comes Saturday against left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana. Lewis gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings and admitted that while he was glad to get out there and see his velocity tick up a bit more than where he was in 2012, he expects to go deeper into games.

* Batting with runners in scoring position has been an issue for the Rangers during the last week. They came into Thursday's game 7-for-57 (.123) in their last seven games. They were hitting .352 (tops in the AL) with RISP before this seven-game stretch and are now just .250, still good for fifth in the AL.

* Prince Fielder has a .293 batting average in 40 games against the White Sox. He has hit a home run on this homestand but still hasn't really put together solid back-to-back games. We'll see if the weekend gets him going.

Stock Report: Bullpen up, offense down

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
8:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's Friday and that means we take stock of how various parts of the Texas Rangers have done over the past week.

STOCK UP

Streaking
Bullpen. After a shaky start to the season, the bullpen seems to have jelled into a cohesive group that has fairly defined roles. Alexi Ogando, who struggled in the spring so much that he lost his starting job and began the season poorly, has come around and is looking a little more like the guy who pitched so well in relief a few years ago. Jason Frasor brings a veteran presence. Joakim Soria has closing experience and even pitchers who the club is still figuring out -- such as Pedro Figueroa and Shawn Tolleson -- have improved in the past week. The group has some more confidence.

Kevin Kouzmanoff. So far, he's filled in very well for the injured Adrian Beltre, who can not return until April 25 thanks to a disabled list stint because of his strained left quad. Kouzmanoff has hit safely in every game he has played in a Rangers uniform and has shown a penchant for extra-base hits. Few can defend at third base like Beltre, but Kouzmanoff has done a solid job in the field.

Walk-offs. The Rangers have had four this season and two in this current homestand. Robinson Chirinos was the hero April 11 against Houston, a 1-0 win in 12 innings and Leonys Martin delivered an RBI single in the ninth Wednesday. Both walk-off wins in this homestand occurred in Yu Darvish starts.

Leonys Martin. He did it all during the Mariners series. He played solid defense, delivered a game-winning hit and has become a terrific bunter. The only thing he didn't do was yell loud enough (or low enough) for Shin-Soo Choo to hear him Wednesday on a pop fly to center. Martin is making a difference in the bottom of the order.

STOCK DOWN

Slumping

Hitting with runners in scoring position. It has not been a strong suit for this team, though they were a bit better in those situations Thursday. Still, the team is 11-for-71 (.155) with runners in scoring position in the past eight games.

Offensive catchers. The Rangers aren't getting much offensive production from their catchers. J.P. Arencibia had two RBIs Thursday but neither came on hits. He's hitting .071 on the season and Chirinos is batting .160. That doesn't mean the catchers haven't played well in other facets, but as far as hitting goes, it has not been solid.

Defense. The Rangers lead the AL with 15 errors in 16 games. And in the Seattle series alone they had a few other mistakes that weren't scored errors (but perhaps could have been). This team still isn't as crisp as manager Ron Washington would like it with the gloves or their arms, though middle infielders Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy have done a good job filling in when out there.

Tanner Scheppers. Big innings have cost Scheppers in three of his four starts and it was a six-run third that ended his afternoon Thursday (the bullpen and offense bailed him out). We'll see if he gets another shot to start when it's his turn in the rotation Tuesday, but he's got to find a way to minimize damage.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington asked outfielder Leonys Martin, the club's No. 8 hitter on Thursday, to sacrifice bunt in the third and fifth with runners and first and second and nobody out. By doing that, it brought up No. 9 hitter J.P. Arencibia, batting all of .083 coming in, in a run-scoring situation in a close game.

You can look at the decision two ways: On the one hand, Arencibia has hit into three ground-ball double plays, and by moving the runners you avoid that possibility. On the other, you send a strong message to Arencibia that everybody, no matter where they are in the lineup or what they're hitting, is trusted to come through in critical junctures.

Arencibia didn't get a hit in either opportunity. But he did hit two ground balls that scored Mitch Moreland each time. The second time was the eventual winning run in an 8-6 Rangers victory.

"Arencibia is a part of this team, and he has to deliver too," manager Ron Washington said. "So I put him in a situation to deliver and he got us two runs, productive outs. Base hits aren't always the key. He had two productive outs today.

"When you're in situations that we were in, we needed Martin to get the bunts down to scratch at least a run. He got two bunts down and we got four runs. Treat the game right and the game treats you right. As far as Arencibia goes, I feel like he can be productive. We just have to keep putting him in those situations and he'll come through. We're a team."

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Alex Rios
BA HR RBI R
.333 1 10 8
OTHER LEADERS
HRP. Fielder 2
RBIA. Rios 10
RE. Andrus 11
OPSS. Choo .895
WM. Perez 3
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23