ARLINGTON, Texas -- A team-wide batting slump combined with the first stretch of Texas hot temperature readings this season and an Oakland winning streak have combined to create an uncomfortable feeling for the Rangers in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
Texas has produced a grand total of five runs in those three losses. The Rangers, 1-3 on an 11-game homestand, are two games behind the Athletics in the AL West. Oakland just finished a three-game sweep of the Yankees.
“When you hit these spells, you don’t ever want them," said Rangers manager Ron Washington before Friday's start against Toronto at Rangers Ballpark. “But they do happen. At some point, it will stop."
The manager said it is important for the players to keep grinding during each at-bat. One player could have a big night and get the rest of the bats going again.
“It’s easy for me and for all of us to sit on the sidelines and form opinions," Washington said, “but until you’ve been there, you don’t know."
The manager says he stresses a relaxed approach for hitting, whether at the level of major league or little league.
“From my vantage point, I don’t see them pressing."
Jon Daniels, Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager, said he doesn’t have a lot of alternatives in mid-June other than to wait for the team to get healthy again.
“We’re in a team slump," said Daniels. “These things happen. I know what this team is capable of and I look forward to them getting healthy and playing a little crisper baseball. I want to see us healthy and playing well before we go down those [trade] roads."
Second baseman Ian Kinsler (ribs) and first baseman Mitch Moreland (hamstring) are currently on the disabled list. Jeff Baker, a utility player with a productive bat, is the latest to go down -- a sprained right thumb injured in a high-five Thursday.
A sarcastic Daniels on Baker’s injury: “Sure, why not. Makes sense."
Lewis update: Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis came through a bullpen session of two dozen pitches without difficulty Friday afternoon.
Lewis said he threw only fastballs and changeups and was throwing at about 70 percent.
Next on Lewis’ comeback schedule is a regular bullpen session with all of his pitches, possibly Monday.
Lewis said the Rangers have a lot of potential “shots in the arm" currently on the disabled list that can make a difference down the stretch.