ARLINGTON, Texas -- Just when you thought it was over, it happened again.
The Texas Rangers lost 2-1 to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night after failing to capitalize on a myriad of scoring opportunities. The inept performance failed to reward an outstanding pitching outing by rookie Martin Perez and came a day after the offense delivered a dominant nine-run victory.
The frustration of the whole debacle was best personified when Josh Hamilton slammed his helmet down in the dugout after grounding out on a pitch that he could have crushed in the sixth -- although the grounder did bring home the tying run.
"It was one of those games where one mistake can hurt you," Michael Young said.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, it wasn't just one mistake, but many. The Rangers were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base. Craig Gentry, the Rangers' hottest hitter, had runners on first and second in consecutive at-bats and a runner on first again and failed to move a single man.
"Missed opportunities," David Murphy said. "We had chances. When you’ve got guys in scoring position you’ve got to get big hits, and it didn’t happen. There’s been plenty of talk about our offense struggling, but (Clay) Buchholz did a great job tonight. You’ve got to give him some credit. If you don’t take advantage of opportunities when you get them, it’s definitely going to come back to bite you in a game like that.”
Murphy and Elvis Andrus were the only Rangers who managed to get two hits off of Clay Buchholz all night, with Murphy going 2-for-3 with a walk and a double. Mike Napoli managed three consecutive walks, but in the end it seemed those were the only things that went right for the Rangers offense.
The bad luck started early when Ian Kinsler was hit by a pitch and then was picked off first base for the first out of the first inning. He was then promptly ejected from the game after a quick exchange with the umpire. Later, Adrian Beltre had a runner at third in the eighth, but was nailed in the head by a frightening pitch from Vicente Padilla that forced Beltre to leave the game. Beltre passed his concussion test.
Between the hit batters and the inneffective hitting in scoring situations, it made for a frustrating night in Texas.
“It’s the major leagues; we’re going to be facing quality pitching every single night," Murphy said. "We’re not going to put up six or seven runs every single night, but it’d be nice if we could back up a nine-run effort with at least three or four on the board, especially in a game where three or four would have been plenty to win.”
It would have been nice, indeed. It's hard to say exactly why a lineup overflowing with so much potential hasn't been able to play at a high level consistently for months. But whatever it is, the Rangers would do best to correct it. Otherwise they might find themselves on the wrong end of some important games come this fall.