Worst inning of 2012 costs Rangers
Sure, they've had innings and games where they've played rough defense or not taken advantage of scoring opportunities. They've had innings where they've allowed big numbers. But they haven't had an inning quite like the fourth Tuesday night.
Even before it started, Josh Hamilton wasn't on the field. The slugger was taken out with vision problems and sinus issues. Hamilton wasn't around to talk to reporters, so it's unclear what that means and how serious the vision problems were. But it bothered him enough that he came out of a big September game in Anaheim in the third inning. So perhaps later today we'll know a little more.
But even after that, the inning started pretty well. Ryan Dempster managed to scamper to first base and beat MVP candidate Mike Trout to the bag for the first out. Things disintegrated after that.
The Rangers went from a 3-1 lead to a 9-3 deficit. It wasn't just that the Angels scored eight runs. It was how they scored them. They got plenty of help from the Rangers.
After Dempster gave up a two-run single to tie the game, Tanner Scheppers came in and threw two pitches that altered the inning considerably. He hit a batter and then threw a wild pitch, which allowed two runs to score. Scheppers was hurt at home plate in the process, landing on his knee. He left the game after that. Texas also had an error as Mike Napoli tried to throw the ball home to get the second runner, but Scheppers was on the ground in pain. The Angels drew a few walks and pounded the ball around the stadium to keep scoring runs and alter the game.
Considering it's mid-September and the Rangers had a chance to gain a game on their closest pursuer, it has to be the worst inning of the season, doesn't it? The Rangers didn't execute and let a lead on the road completely get away.
But one of the hallmarks of this team the past few years is an ability to move on and forget about problems. The Angels know that's in the Rangers' character. After all, Los Angeles won the first two games of a big series at the end of July and led by six on Aug. 1 before the Rangers roared back. Since that dramatic 11-10 win in extra innings, the two teams have gone different directions. The Rangers have stayed in front in the AL West and the Angels are fighting for a wild-card spot (they are three back since Baltimore won in extra innings last night).
Focusing on what's ahead is a big reason the Rangers haven't lost more than four consecutive games all season. And the last time they did that was early July.
The Rangers' mission remains what it's been since the second half started: to win series. They've played 19 series since the break and have won 13 of them, splitting two and losing four.
They've done that by putting the past behind them and bouncing back. To win this series, they'll need to beat C.J. Wilson and Zack Greinke. And they'll need to forget about that awful fourth inning.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
Play Podcast Nelson Cruz joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' series in Oakland, his ups and downs at the plate and if the PED talks before the season were a distraction.