Extra Bases: Offense stuck in neutral
Presented with chance after chance in Monday's 4-2 loss to Oakland, the Rangers produced an offensive output that has been all too familiar this season. For the fourth straight game, the Rangers scored two runs, and now they're tied for first place with the A's with identical 79-58 records.
It's a reminder of why it's so important for the Rangers to win the division. It's a must. In a one-game wildcard playoff game, it would be a roll of the dice with this offense.
The Rangers left 11 runners on base Monday. They were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. It was a carryover from the weekend mishap with the Minnesota Twins in which the Rangers were 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position and lost two out of three games.
A's starter Dan Straily is the most erratic pitcher who will throw in this three-game series between Oakland and Texas. While the Rangers had him out of the game after five innings, they didn't take advantage of walks and pitches Straily left up in the strike zone.
The Rangers had nine baserunners against a slumping A's bullpen that has been pushed to the limit by manager Bob Melvin. Texas didn't score, failing with a runner at third with one out twice in the final four innings.
Adrian Beltre's decision not to tag up from third with the bases loaded in the sixth inning on a line drive by Lance Berkman was a momentum killer. A's right fielder Chris Young threw to second base on the play.
The Rangers, as they're built now, have to be aggressive at all times. Five months have proven this remains an offensively-challenged team.
WHAT'S UP NOW: Rapid Reaction from the Rangers' 4-2 loss to the A's on Monday. Plus, Richard Durrett opines on what it will take for the Rangers to hold on in September. And a postgame blog on what went wrong for Texas on Monday.
ON DECK: The Rangers turn to left-hander Martin Perez (8-3, 3.58) against A's right-hander Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.94) in the only night game of the three-game series at 9:07 p.m.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Are you concerned about the Rangers losing three out of their last four games as the division race heats up?
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.