Texas Rangers: Offense

Scoring woes continue as Texas' skid hits 4

June, 14, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers are in one of their worst home scoring droughts since the Ballpark opened in 1994.

After being shut out by Toronto 8-0 on Friday, the Rangers have been held to two runs or fewer in four straight games.

[+] EnlargeElvis Andrus
Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Getty ImagesElvis Andrus took out his frustration on umpire Eric Cooper after a called third strike in the sixth inning and was ejected.
That streak of futility is surpassed only by a string of five games in which they were held to two runs or fewer in September 2009.

"We are going to keep working," Rangers manager Ron Washington said in his postgame news conference. "It’s just a matter of time. I wish I had the formula. The only way out is to keep battling."

Shortstop Elvis Andrus was ejected by plate umpire Eric Cooper after being called out on strikes in the sixth inning.

"Elvis said something from the dugout," Washington said. "I tried to get in front of him."

The manager said when things aren’t going well, it is natural for players to get upset.

Asked how much injuries have to do with this slump, Washington said he is not going to use injuries as an excuse.

"We’ve played good baseball with a lot of guys out," he said. "We’ve just started playing uncharacteristic."

The Rangers rotation went into Friday’s game receiving 2.23 runs per nine innings this month. A Rangers starter last earned a win on May 31 against Kansas City. The streak now spans 13 games. It is the longest winless streak for the club's starters since they went 14 games without a win in May 2003.

"We have one of the best lineups in the league," said Justin Grimm, the Rangers' starter and loser on Friday. "We’re going to break out of it, starting tomorrow. I don’t blame them, I blame myself."

Dave Magadan impressed with Leonys Martin, Jurickson Profar

January, 24, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan got a chance to work with Jurickson Profar for the first time Wednesday and came away impressed with the maturity of his 19-year-old pupil.

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"When I think back when I was 19 and position he’s in, it’s very hard to relate to," Magadan said. "He’s very mature for his age, especially for a guy who had to adapt to a different culture and all that."

Magadan worked with Profar in the batting cages as part of a hitting camp this week in Arlington, giving the new coach a chance to see some of his hitters up close.

“He’s as advertised," Magadan said about Profar. "Always has a smile on his face, very open, not that I’m coming here
changing guys, just little things you say to guys you feel can make them a little more consistent he’s open to. He’s 19 years old, loves
being out here, if you let him, he’ll hit for two hours in the cage. A lot of energy, a lot of positive energy, and that’s a good thing."

Magadan also sees plenty of potential in the 24-year-old Leonys Martin, but the hitting coach didn't want to compare him to Jacoby Ellsbury despite the fact that some scouts see Martin as having the potential to be in that mold.

“I’d hate to label him and let’s let him be what he is and if he turns out like Jacoby, that’d be nice," Magadan said. "But he’s got not a lot of experience in pro ball and the experience that he’s gotten, he’s done really well. So let’s just let him grow at his own pace and I’d hate to put a label on him and that kind of pressure on him, especially for a guy in another country and he’s got a lot more things on his plate.

"Obviously, he's is talented and the ceiling is limitless on him. So we’ll let him go at his pace and whatever we can to make him better
and he’s definitely a lot like Jacoby in the way he’s very coachable, very open, he’s got that personality where he’s very approachable, those are all good things."

Dave Magadan works with young hitters

January, 23, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan got a chance to spend some time in the cages with some of his hitters this week. He's looked at film and talked to players by phone, but that's not the same thing as getting with them in person.

On Wednesday, he got to do that with some of the top younger players in the system that are pushing for big league spots, like Engel Beltre, Leonys Martin and Jurickson Profar.

"It's a chance for me to develop a relationship with them so when spring training comes around we’ll hit the ground running and you don’t really have to establish that at that point," Magadan said. "We're all excited. We're not looking for guys to do anything more than what they’re capable of
doing. If guys go out there and stay within themselves and do what they’ve done in the past, we’re going to be alright.

"There are going to be some opportunities for young players to win spots on the team, so in that regard, spring training is going to be real important to them."

Magadan has found a place to live for him and his family and he's clearly excited about the chance to help the Rangers hitters.

"There’s nothing like being with these guys, working with them, talking to them, seeing them, Ian (Kinsler), (Craig) Gentry, (Brandon) Snyder, those
guys," Magadan said. "Getting over that hump of meeting these guys, you get a little spoiled because I was in Boston for a six years. I had relationships with those guys, and something I didn’t even have to think about other than the new guys who would filter in every year."

Magadan went to the Dominican Republic earlier this offseason and got to work with some of the players there, so he will get to spring training with a much better idea of the swings of the players he's working with and will continue to learn what makes them tick and how best to help and motivate them.

Absence of big bats hinders Rangers

September, 22, 2012
SEATTLE -- The absences of Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre not only affected the Texas Rangers at the plate but also in the field during Friday's 6-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

With Hamilton due to miss the entire series because of balance and vision issues and Beltre sitting out Friday with intestinal problems, the offense took a blow.

"Those are our horses," Rangers left fielder David Murphy said. "Between them, they have 70-something home runs and 200-plus RBI."

Precisely, it's 76 home runs, 228 RBIs and a whole lot of headaches for opposing pitchers. But Friday night, the Seattle pitching staff didn't have to deal with that.

Beltre is scheduled to start Saturday. He arrived in Friday night after undergoing tests in Los Angeles on Friday morning. Hamilton, on the other hand, will stay in Texas for the weekend in hopes of recovering from a sinus infection that has plagued him with balance and vision problems.

Murphy did his best to pick up the offensive load against the Mariners with the two big bats out of the lineup. He came into the game with just one hit in his last 11 at-bats but went 3-for-4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle.

"We're going to battle offensively and do whatever we can to scratch runs across," Murphy said of not having Beltre and Hamilton. "It hurts, but we're not at a point in the year when we can sit back and dwell on that. We have to keep playing good baseball and keep nailing down wins."

With Beltre not at third base, Michael Young was forced to the hot corner. The veteran made a key error on a tough grounder in the fourth that allowed an extra run to come across. Hitting in the three-hole, Young extended his hitting streak to 10 games but also grounded into two double plays.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said before the game that his players don't pay attention to the team's medical issues.

"As long as we've got nine guys on the field, we are going to go out there and play together and try to win a ballgame together," he said. "We are not going to react to something we have no control over. We are going to put nine guys out there and compete."

For the skipper, it's not even about production at the plate at the end of the day.

"All of it will come down to pitching," he said. "If the pitching does a good job, we'll be fine."

Friday's starter, Martin Perez, made his first start since July 24 and gave up three runs in four innings. He certainly kept his team in the game, but Alexi Ogando gave up a two-run homer in the eighth that sealed it for the Mariners.

Wasted chances early hurt Rangers late

August, 10, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz knew that his club was going to need more than two runs.

"I told (Adrian) Beltre in the fifth inning that we weren't going to win the game 2-1," Cruz said. "We had chances to get more runs early and we didn't do it."

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Texas had a runner on base in every inning of Friday's 6-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers. But in the second and third innings, the club really had a chance to stake Scott Feldman to a big lead. Cruz and Michael Young both got on base to lead off the second and moved up a base on a passed ball as David Murphy struck out. But even with one out and runners in scoring position, Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland weren't able to convert the scoring chance.

In the third, Elvis Andrus' single after Ian Kinsler's double scored the club's first run of the game. Andrus got aggressive and tried to get to second on the throw, but Miguel Cabrera cut it off and threw to second, where Andrus was called out on a close play. Andrus said he watched the video and was safe.

"It was too close for me to tell," manager Ron Washington said. "When he threw the ball in I was just hoping that Cabrera would go to sleep. But he didn't. Once again, we were aggressive right there and we paid for it."

But the out cleared the bases. The Rangers ended up with two hits and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, but David Murphy's deep fly ball ended the inning with just the one run scored on the Andrus single. If the call goes the other way for Texas, perhaps the inning and the game is altered. But it didn't and the Rangers couldn't take advantage of the chances they had against starter Max Scherzer.

"All we had to do was put the ball in play in those situations; we just didn't," Washington said. "It came back and it got us."

Texas ended up leaving eight men on base and after the third inning never got another runner into scoring position.

Offense executes, puts together big innings

July, 23, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For a brief moment, it appeared that the Texas Rangers' offense might have another rough night of execution. Adrian Beltre led off the second inning with a double and Michael Young's grounder got him to third with one out. In April and part of May, the Rangers flourished in those situations. But since then, they haven't been as consistent in getting that runner home. And in the second on Monday, Mike Napoli and Brandon Snyder struck out following a Nelson Cruz walk to end the inning without scoring a run.

"It was big to bounce back after that and not let that hurt us," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We did the things we needed to after that."

They did thanks to two big innings. The offense put up nine runs, tying its high total for July, and they did it by scoring runs in a variety of ways. It started with a double steal with Andrus at the plate in the third inning after Craig Gentry singled and Ian Kinsler walked.

"Craig was trying to get to third it seemed like the whole at-bat," Kinsler said. "He was very patient. He kind of gave away his hand a little early there, but he was able to get the bag late and it definitely helped us that inning. When you can get a double steal it changes the whole inning. First and second is a lot different than second and third to a pitcher and to the hitter."

Andrus said he then expected to see fastballs with the Red Sox not likely to risk a ball in the dirt that would score a run.

"They made it easier for me trying to shoot the middle and bring the run in and move the runner to third base," Andrus said. "I wasn't trying to pull at all. I wanted to hit the middle or hit it to second base. When you do little things like that, you always get a plus."

Andrus executed with two strikes, hitting the ball toward second base. His speed did the rest, forcing an off-balance, errant throw by Dustin Pedroia that allowed a second run to score.

With Andrus on at second base, Josh Hamilton, who has struggled in June and July, stayed back on an 85-mph changeup and hit a double to the opposite field, scoring Andrus. Young kept things going with a clutch single and by the time the inning was over, the Rangers had turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead. They tacked on five more in the sixth, two of them on Mike Napoli's home run on a 3-2 pitch. Hamilton did what the game asked, hitting a sacrifice fly to score a runner from third. In other words: It was a solid, all-around game for the offense, something it badly needed.

"It's a reminder of what we're capable of," David Murphy said. "There's a lot of games where we haven't been sharp offensively this year and we won. That's the bottom line. But on a night like this, you're laying in bed at night and you feel great about what the team did. You know we played up to our capabilities. That's something we'd like to see more of. Wins are the most important thing. But with the hits we've taken to our pitching staff lately, it would be nice if our offense would stay on its game this year."

Stats: Josh Hamilton missing outside zone

July, 23, 2012
Yes, that's obvious, isn't it?

As the Texas Rangers prepare to take on the Boston Red Sox in the first game of a 10-game homestand tonight, they do so with an offense that is still not clicking on all cylinders. Neither is the bat of Josh Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP and player of the month in April and May for the AL. It seems clear that Josh Hamilton is chasing -- and missing -- off-speed and breaking pitches outside the strike zone.

But what's interesting about what ESPN Stats & Information (thanks Kenton Wong) is that Hamilton is actually swinging at fewer off-speed pitches outside the zone than he was in April and May. The difference: He's missing way more of those pitches. A look:
Josh Hamilton vs Offspeed Pitches Out of Strike Zone
April-May -- Swing percentage: 56.7; Miss percentage: 54.8
June-July -- Swing percentage: 50.2; Miss percentage: 68.9

With the increased swing-and-miss percentage has also come an increase in Hamilton's strikeout rate and, of course, a lower batting average and fewer home runs:
April-May: .368 batting average, 21 homers, 18.8 percent strikeouts per plate appearance
June-July: .201 batting average, 7 homers, 30.2 percent strikeouts per plate appearance

Of course, the offensive struggles are not simply confined to Hamilton. He's just the most visible because of who he is and where he sits in the lineup. But as a whole, the Ranger bats haven't been the same since the first two months of the season. Rangers' offense by month:
April: 5.4 runs per game, .292 batting average
May: 6.0 runs per game, .285 batting average
June: 4.8 runs per game, .277 batting average
July: 3.1 runs per game, .239 batting average

The numbers get worse in July:
Batting average: .239 (25th)
Slug percentage: .361 (28th)
Runs per game: 3.1 (29th)

Ron Washington talks inconsistent offense

July, 6, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Friday that he's never seen his offense this inconsistent.

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"Some guys just aren't at their best," Washington said. "That's all it is. If we knew what it was, we'd fix it. But you have to stay the course. These guys have track records."

The overall offensive numbers are actually better than what they were this time last year, in terms of batting average and runs scored. But the club raised the bar for the lineup with a stellar first six weeks of the season.

At one point in mid-May, the Rangers were hitting nearly .300 as a team, averaging close to six runs and hitting 1.5 homers per game. But that pace was impossible to keep up and the club has seen fits where it's either put up a ton of runs or barely any at all. Since that May midpoint, the club is batting .271 (more than 20 points down from early in the season), averaging 4.8 runs (a run less) and just one homer per game.

"Expectations have been raised so high," Washington said. "We're not running from that. It's 162 games and we won't panic at 80-something."

Washington said the biggest inconsistency is getting runners in from third base with less than two outs. That's when the club needs a ground ball to the right side or a fly ball and can't execute it. Washington acknowledged that hitters that are usually stroking the ball this time of year aren't doing so yet. He mentioned Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli. Those are the Nos. 5, 6 and 7 hitters in the lineup. But Washington isn't making any changes.

"Some guys are struggling, bottom line," Washington said. "If they are struggling, what does moving them to fifth do? No. I'm penciling them in tonight and I'm going to ride it. Then I'll pencil them in tomorrow night and I'll ride it."

A quick Josh Hamilton OPS note for May

June, 1, 2012
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Josh Hamilton has had plenty of impressive numbers this season. He can add May's OPS to the list.

Hamilton hit .344 in May with 12 homers and 32 RBIs, most of which came during that one memorable week (and one night in Baltimore). But he also had a 1.187 OPS for the month.

It's the second-highest OPS in May by a Ranger since 2000. The list of highest OPS marks since 2000 includes some big names:

2000: Ivan Rodríguez, 1.207

2012: Josh Hamilton, 1.187

2005: Kevin Mench, 1.103

2007: Mark Teixeira, 1.098

2001: Alex Rodríguez, 1.083

Michael Young approaches 200 hits

September, 17, 2011
SEATTLE -- Michael Young's impressive season already includes more than 100 RBIs for the second time in his career. He sits at 101 RBIs, just two off his career-high mark (set in 2006).

He's now just three hits away from 200, a mark he's reached five previous times. He did it in five consecutive seasons from 2003 to 2007.

"It means a lot," Young said about hitting the 200-hit plateau. "Individual stuff always mean more once the season is over, but it does mean a lot. I've done it a few times and I know it's not easy. It means for the most part that I've accomplished two big goals: staying healthy and being consistent. If I do those two things, I like my chances of getting a lot of hits."

Manager Ron Washington, who said Young has had an "amazing" year, believes his club is capable of having three players with more than 100 RBIs, led by Young. Adrian Beltre, now back from his hamstring strain, has 91 RBIs and Josh Hamilton has 88.

Young also has 40 doubles for third time in his career and the first time since 2006 (when he had 52).

"I want to be able to knock in runs any way I can," Young said. "If you put balls in the gap, you have a good chance to do that, especially in our park. I want to be able to knock in runs any way I can and that helps do that."

Young, of course, is also still in the race for the AL batting title, fighting that out with Adrian Gonzalez. If Young can catch him (he's at .333 and Gonzalez is at .337), it would be the second batting title of his career.

Rangers bats go silent against Brett Cecil

July, 24, 2011

ARLINGTON, Texas -- An unpredictable, rare feat happened for the second straight night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. But this one didn't involve any dramatic comebacks.

One night after three consecutive sacrifice bunts -- the first time an AL team has done that in more than 30 years -- keyed a Rangers victory, Texas' potent offense was shut down by Brett Cecil, a 25-year-old without a complete-game shutout on his resume.

It was the fifth time the Rangers had been shutout, but the first time all season a pitcher threw a complete-game shutout at home against Texas. And it hasn't happened in Arlington since Aug. 28, 2010, when Dallas Braden did it to the Rangers.

Braden seems a lot more likely to turn the trick than Cecil, who came in with a 19.29 ERA in seven career innings against the Rangers (15 runs on 17 hits). But the Rangers couldn't solve his off-speed stuff, including a changeup that had great movement.

"You can get shut out by anybody if they make their pitches," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We couldn't stay back on the off-speed stuff. He kept us off-balance. You have to give him credit."

Texas managed to get just one runner into scoring position and that wasn't until the eighth inning. It was painful, too. Craig Gentry got aggressive and tagged up from first on a fly ball. He slid headfirst into second and his shoulder hit the leg of Aaron Hill as he tried to apply the tag.

"It was jarring and it shook me up," Gentry said. "But once it was over, I was fine. I was trying to be aggressive and get something going."

It didn't matter. Cecil got the next two batters, striking out Elvis Andrus on a nasty changeup to end the frame. The game ended on a strikeout by Mike Napoli.

"You give him credit, but we have to find ways to score, it's as simple as that," said Michael Young, who had one of the club's four hits. "No matter what goes on out there, how well the pitcher is throwing, I'll job is to find a way to score and back up our pitching staff. We couldn't do that tonight, so we'll refocus and get ready for tomorrow."

The Blue Jays played solid defense behind Cecil, who got most of his outs on fly balls and popups. Jose Bautista made the play of the night, diving in shallow right field to rob Mitch Moreland of a hit. Bautista, the third baseman, was in right as part of an overshift Toronto played against the left-handed hitting Moreland and Josh Hamilton. Moreland said he saw a similar shift employed by the Tampa Bay Rays.

"The majority of my ground balls do go to the right side," Moreland said. "I had a feeling they might do that when the opportunity came up."

Moreland, though, said Cecil should get the credit for pitching a solid game.

"He stayed out of trouble all night," Moreland said. "He worked both sides of the plate and stayed ahead. You do that and you're going to have a good game."

Ian Kinsler trying to do more

June, 29, 2011
HOUSTON -- At the lowest point, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler had just gone 0-4 vs. the Cleveland Indians on June 5 to cap an 0-23 stretch during which his batting average had sunk to .220.

This was not the Ian Kinsler that Rangers fans had grown to love -- the player that hit for average, scored runs and drew walks.

It wasn't happening.

But through hard work in the batting cage and natural ability, things changed for the better. Since then, he's gotten a hit in 14 of his last 17 games, drew a walk in his last six, and scored a run in four of the last five games.

Kinsler had a triple, home run, three RBIs, walked twice and scored once in the Rangers' 7-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night. His average is now .240, the second time he's reached that mark this month. His on-base percentage is .359, the highest since April 28.

"It always makes a big difference when you can get your leadoff hitter on the bag," manager Ron Washington said. "He's the one that sets the tone."

Maybe Kinsler, who is hitting just .171 on the road this season, has finally started to find a groove during the Silver Boot Series.

The Rangers might have sluggers -- Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre -- but it is Kinsler who is responsible for getting the team going offensively.

"Average is going to take care of itself because there's a lot of games to play," Kinsler said. "Those numbers are difficult to talk about. It's not where I want it to be, but I'm going to continue to work. Hopefully I can get in a zone here pretty soon."

The season is not slipping away from anybody, and the only real milestones are the halfway point and then the All-Star break. The Rangers would like to see Kinsler hit more for average, especially at Minute Maid Park with its massive alleys. Kinsler stroked a triple to the gap in right center on Tuesday.

"He needs to do that more often," Washington quipped.

Kinsler would agree, but he also understands getting on base via any means necessary -- be it a hit, walk or reaching on an error -- is just as good. He's sixth in the AL in runs scored (53) and walks (49).

"Average is something that fluctuates throughout the season," Kinsler said. "Runs scored doesn't fluctuate, RBIs don’t fluctuate. That’s something that adds up and it's something that you want to continue to do. That's the most important thing: runs scored. You got to score runs if you want to win. I feel like if I’m doing that, I'm helping this team."

Thad Bosley respects Rangers' decision

June, 9, 2011

Rangers hitting coach Thad Bosley said Thursday that he didn't want to comment on what some of the players said Wednesday about the communication issues. The coach said he understands the club decided to move on.

"At the end of the day, they made a decision they felt was best for the team to try to go forward and win a World Series and I respect that," Bosley said. "I don't have to agree with it, but I respect it."

Bosley said he has the "utmost respect" for the Rangers' front office, and cited CEO Nolan Ryan, GM Jon Daniels, assistant GM Thad Levine, senior special assistant to the GM Don Welke and manager Ron Washington by name.

Bosley knew when he was hired that it was going to take some time to understand the Rangers' hitters and for the players to be comfortable with him. That didn't happen quick enough for the club to continue with Bosley as the hitting coach, leading to Wednesday's decision. Daniels said on Wednesday that "the fit wasn't right."

"You’re not going to walk in the room of the Texas Rangers and be the third hitting coach in three years and everything you bring in is going to be, ‘Hey, that’s great. We got it. Let's go,'" Bosley said. "It takes times. You have to build that relationship."

Bosley isn't sure what he'll end up doing, but would like to stay in baseball.

The bottom line, as we've talked about on the blog and in the chats, is that Bosley's personality just didn't mesh with the club. There's a certain vibe to the clubhouse and it takes a coach that can get through to players either by using that same vibe or very tactfully and subtly altering that vibe so everyone is on board. Clint Hurdle and his dynamic personality did that. Bosley wasn't able to follow him with this particular club.

Communication an issue with Bosley

June, 8, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's not every day that a major league team that is second in the American League in batting average, fourth in runs scored and first in its division changes its hitting coach. But the Rangers replaced Thad Bosley with Scott Coolbaugh today in large part because the coach didn't communicate well enough with his team.

Perhaps outfielder Josh Hamilton said it best.

"He just didn’t fit with us," Hamilton said, noting that Bosley was a "good guy with a good heart."

“He’s a professional in the way he approaches the game and teaches the game, but it just didn’t mesh with our clubhouse. It was communication -- not a lot there.

"You’d like to have somebody that knows when to back off, knows when to approach, gets what they want to get across to you, but find out your personality and find out how to get it across to you. Those things just didn’t happen the way they needed to."

Several players said they didn't feel like they were listened to and that the coach wasn't able to do enough to help them. Elvis Andrus said he wanted a coach that was more into the mental side of hitting and he felt Bosley was mainly mechanical.

"I think for me I need a hitting coach that can teach me and make me better mentally more than physically," Andrus said. "I wish him the best, but he was more physical and technique. I don’t get into much mechanic stuff. I’m more like a mental guy. For me a great hitting coach, that’s what I like. Rudy [Jaramillo] and Clint [Hurdle], they were more into the mental part of the game. I know Coolbaugh will be our new hitting coach. I worked with him in Double-A and I think he’s a great hitting coach."

That's where a different style appears to have hurt Bosley's chances of success. Jaramillo, the club's longtime hitting coach before his departure after the 2009 season, and Hurdle, who was the hitting coach last year before taking the manager's job with the Pirates this season, were big proponents of the mental game. Hurdle used to text players and coaches with various quotes designed to get them motivated, and he constantly preached situational hitting and how to approach things without getting too much into swings.

"Hitting is mental and mechanical," Hamilton said. "Basically at this level, you need eyes to watch you because you know your swing. You get in funks where you feel like you know what’s wrong, you go back and look at video to confirm it, have a hitting coach that's there to confirm it with you and take steps forward to correct it. The communication was just lacking a lot."

Sources confirmed that Bosley had a few run-ins with players, much of it stemming from miscommunications. But the bottom line was he wasn't on the same page as the rest of the team, and the club decided it needed someone who could blend in better.

"We felt like at this point that the fit wasn’t right," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Nothing about Thad’s credentials or work ethic or what he did. Sometimes, time and place aren’t right and we felt like that was the case and we felt like a different fit might be better for the club moving forward."

Coolbaugh's familiarity with the hitters and the way the Rangers operate should help. He's dealt with most of them either in the minors, during rehab stints or in spring training.

Rangers struggle to find offensive rhythm

May, 6, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers didn't try to make any excuses after another slow night at the plate.

The tired Rangers, arriving back at 5 a.m. Friday morning after a long plane ride home from Seattle, managed just three hits in Friday's 4-1 loss to the Yankees. But they know that fatigue wasn't to blame for the lackluster offensive performance.

Ivan Nova, a pitcher the Rangers jumped on for five runs on four hits and drew five walks off of in just 4 1/3 innings April 15, baffled the Texas hitters Friday. The Rangers beat the ball into the dirt, hitting into 16 ground ball outs. The top four hitters in the lineup -- Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Michael Young and Adrian Beltre -- were a combined 0-for-16 with three strikeouts. Only twice did the ball ever leave the infield from that group of batters. Kinsler is batting .223 on the season and Beltre is at .238.

Yes, it hurts not having 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton or slugger Nelson Cruz in the lineup. But this team should be deep enough to withstand those absences and still score runs. They just aren't doing it right now. Texas has 16 runs in the last six games, an average of 2.66. They are 1-5 in those contests and need to win the next two games against the Yankees to avoid losing seven of their last eight series.

After a 9-1 start, Texas is 8-15. They aren't getting the clutch hits they did during the hot start, hitting just .235 (8-for-34) with runners in scoring position the last seven games.

"I think it's a matter of getting it done," said outfielder David Murphy, who was 1-for-3 on Friday and is batting .250 with one homer and seven RBIs since Hamilton went down with the injury, making Murphy a starter. "We're just not getting it done. Obviously, we're at a point right now where it's a loss for words. The only thing that's going to change the frustration is success and winning."

Murphy thinks one key might be for players to avoid the temptation to fill their heads with swing thoughts and approaches. It's almost like the golfer who has so many things in his head that he can't confidently hit solid shots.

"There's no reason to pick our brain and analyze it like crazy," Murphy said. "One day there's going to be a spark and we're going to start getting guys on base and start driving guys in and it's going to start happening every day. Our offense is going to start living up to what we're capable of."

They'd like for that to happen soon. This homestand doesn't get any easier. The Rangers still have two more against the Yankees, including ace CC Sabathia. Then the A's and Angels come to town.

"We'll keep battling," Washington said. "You get spells like this in the game of baseball. We will come out of it. There will be a pitcher that toes that rubber and we'll get to him."



Adrian Beltre
.322 18 71 73
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 71
RA. Beltre 73
OPSA. Beltre .873
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182