Ranger Reax: Missing out on opportunities
August, 1, 2010
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Sunday was a big opportunity for the Rangers. With Cliff Lee on the mound, the club was looking for a series win that would have shoved the Angels 10 games back, sliding them into that double-digit realm that could prove tough psychologically to overcome.
But the Angels got to Lee for some early runs and the offense couldn't string enough big hits together to make a comeback. So as it stands, the Rangers are eight games ahead of the Angels and 8.5 up on the A's.
"We've got two months left and there's a lot of baseball left to play," David Murphy said. "We're not looking at the standings. We're trying to win games and series. This is still a dog fight and to get where we want to be we have to keep focused and keep playing hard. We know there's no stopping and taking a deep breath."
On Sunday, the offense had some chances to crawl back into the game. The biggest may have come in the third inning. The Rangers loaded the bases with one out for David Murphy. He got the pitch he expected, a curve ball, but he popped it up to shallow right field, which didn't allow any runners to move up. Vladimir Guerrero then flied out to end the inning and the threat.
"I have to find a way to score a run there," Murphy said. "I could have hit a ground ball and probably beaten out a double play or hit a fly ball. I didn't do it. That was frustrating. I know I can't expect to get a hit in every at-bat, but I have to score a run at that point."
Situational hitting again plagued the Rangers in the sixth as Murphy came up again with a runner in scoring position and no outs and popped up to second base. He slammed his bat in frustration. Nelson Cruz grounded out and Cristian Guzman popped up to end the inning.
The Rangers also wasted a chance in the seventh with two runners on and one out. Elvis Andrus hit a ground ball on a force out and with runners at second and third, Michael Young flied out.
"We just have to continue to put runners on and get in those situations," Young said. "Over the long haul, we're going to score our share of runs."
* Cliff Lee gave up four runs in eight innings on Sunday, including two in the first inning. He was asked about the lack of run support he's had and said it's something that's out of his control. "I'm trying to pitch deep in game and keep my team in it," Lee said. "I can't control of we score runs or we make plays. My job is to force the other team to swing and give the team a chance. That's really all I can do."
* Lee was asked about the 8-game lead and said the team "was in a good spot." "But we still have to play well and try to win each series," he said. "Unfortunatley, we weren't able to do that this time, but it's on to Seattle and try to take care of those guys."
* Mitch Moreland was inserted in right field after Josh Hamilton pinch hit and Jorge Cantu ran for him. Moreland had two catches while he was out there. "We know he can play there from spring training," Washington said. "It was good to be able to do that."
* Lee issued his first unintentional walk as a Ranger in the eight inning. It was his first in 42 1/3 innings and 159 batters playing for Texas.
* Nelson Cruz's 19-game hitting streak was snapped after going 0-for-3 with a walk.
* Texas was 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts in this series.