Extra Bases: Not-so-sweet home

June, 5, 2014
Jun 5
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For years, the Texas Rangers have enjoyed a sizable home-field advantage. But in 2014, things have changed considerably. After starting the season 9-3 in Arlington, the Rangers are 4-12 in their past 16 games at home and just 13-15 in Arlington overall.

Wednesday's loss means the club is 0-4-2 in its past six home series.

No one seems to have an explanation. The numbers tell a story of the offense's inability to score runs. When has that been said about a Texas team at home? The Rangers have scored 27 runs in their past nine home games and went 2-7 in that span. For the entire season, the Rangers are 11th in the AL in runs and 13th in batting average at home.

[+] EnlargeTanner Scheppers
AP Photo/Kim Johnson FlodinTanner Scheppers' return to health comes at a perfect time.
The only team in the AL West with a worse home record is Houston.

The offensive woes don't mean the pitching staff goes without blame, however. The staff ERA of 4.34 is 11th in the AL.

If this team is to claw back in the race and hang around in the wild-card hunt, they've got to start playing better at home.

Bullpen dominoes: Things are getting ready to get interesting in the Rangers' bullpen. It's a unit that is fifth in the AL in innings pitched, thanks to the starters' inability to consistently go deep into games.

Tanner Scheppers, who needed just six pitches in a successful rehab start Tuesday, appears just about ready to return to a relief job with the big league club. They certainly need him. With Alexi Ogando on the disabled list and some inconsistencies all over the pen, a healthy and hard-throwing Scheppers would give manager Ron Washington another late-inning piece.

Ogando's right elbow inflammation actually gives the club an opportunity. They recalled Aaron Poreda, a left-handed pitcher, and put him in the bullpen, which means they could send Robbie Ross, who has options, down when Scheppers returns. And, with Poreda there, they wouldn't have to worry about being down a lefty.

Ross is 1-4 with a 4.94 ERA this season. He was moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen a few weeks ago and has pitched four times in relief, giving up four runs in 6 2/3 innings. Opponents have hit .433 against him. Why not option him to Triple-A Round Rock so he can find some confidence?

Neftali Feliz keeps making a push toward returning at some point soon too. Feliz is getting his velocity back (a scout told me he was 92-93 mph on Tuesday but has touched 96 a few times in his past few outings) and pitching well in Round Rock now. He's another option that could improve the Rangers' bullpen.

Stay tuned.

Meeting time: The Rangers' hitters had a brief meeting on Wednesday. They typically only meet prior to new series, which they did Tuesday, but they quickly gathered as a group prior to stretching Wednesday. Maybe that's because they were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday and 10-for-59 with runners in scoring position in the past seven games, prior to Wednesday.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.



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Adrian Beltre
.322 14 53 52
HRA. Beltre 14
RBIA. Beltre 53
RA. Beltre 52
OPSA. Beltre .880
WY. Darvish 9
ERAY. Darvish 2.92
SOY. Darvish 159