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Ross throws strikes but finds no answers

4/20/2014

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Maybe throwing strikes is overrated.

Texas Rangers starter Robbie Ross Jr. threw 65 of his 86 pitches for strikes, had a career-high eight strikeouts and issued zero walks but was on the wrong end of a 16-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park.

Ross' mound opponent, Erik Johnson, walked five and hit the strike zone on just 44 of 87 pitches. Yet he left town with a win.

Can anybody explain it?

"I’ve got to give Johnson credit," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He was effectively wild. He threw enough bad pitches, and he threw enough good pitches to keep us off balance."

The problem for Ross, according to Washington, was location of his strikes. Two of his pitches, to Jordan Danks and Jose Abreu, traveled an estimated 397 and 403 feet, respectively, on their way over the right-field wall.

"When you go right at them, it happens sometimes," said Ross, who is transitioning from reliever to starter this season. "It is just one game. I need to work on things to get better for next time."

Said Washington: "Robbie just wasn’t hitting his spots, and we didn’t make a play behind him [a throwing error by third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff] that opened the game up for them."

The fifth-inning error led to three unearned White Sox runs and a 5-2 deficit.

In five innings, the Rangers managed only one hit off Johnson, a single by Leonys Martin in the second inning. Johnson, who walked the leadoff hitter in each of the first four innings, came into the game with an 0-1 record and a 6.35 ERA.

Luis Sardinas, in his first major league at-bat, accounted for the other Rangers hit with an infield single in the eighth.

Even though the 10-game homestand ended on a down note, Washington was pleased with a 7-3 record.

"If we keep winning series, we’ll be fine."