ST. PETERSBURG, Fla -- The Rangers have to tighten up the ship, or submarine, as manager Ron Washington likes to refer to his team.
Two moments in Monday night's 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay warrant a second look.
In the fourth inning, manager Ron Washington called for a sacrifice bunt from Elvis Andrus after Ian Kinsler started the inning with a double. The Rangers were down 1-0 and had trailed for 36 of 37 innings.
Andrus came into Monday batting .400 in his last 40 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but Washington felt it more important to make sure the Rangers take advantage of a leadoff double. Makes some sense.
"We can't waste opportunities to score right now," Washington said after the game.
The Rangers did end up scoring in the inning, only it came after Kinsler was caught in a rundown when he bolted down the line between third and home trying to induce a balk from Alex Cobb. Alex Rios smoked a ground ball to third base and Kinsler was stuck and tagged out. The Rangers did tie the game when Rios stole second, went to third on a passed ball and scored on A.J. Pierzynski's two-out single.
The Rangers wasted a scoring opportunity in the top of the fifth. Kinsler tied the game at 2-2 with a clutch two-out double. That brought up Andrus.
Andrus never got a chance to drive in Kinsler, who broke for third trying to steal a base and was caught by Cobb on an inside pickoff move. Three outs. A total waste of a scoring opportunity, a chance to take the first lead in 59 innings.
Kinsler didn't comment on the play after the game. He declined to talk to the media through a Rangers' media relations member.
Washington said about Kinsler's two outs on the bases: "Ian was being Ian."
"That's the way we play," Washington said.
Yes, the Rangers are an aggressive team. That's what has made them a contender for four seasons.
But Washington also said it best. They can't waste scoring opportunities. Not with the magnitude of the games with 13 to go.