Wash seeks consistency on mound, at plate


ARLINGTON, Texas -- You see the smiles on the field and the hustle.

You can tell the Texas Rangers care about what’s happening to them, mired in a seven-game losing streak, 12½ games back of first place in the AL West, 6½ out of the second wild-card spot.

This isn’t going well.

Some games, the Rangers get excellent pitching and no hitting; others, great hitting and no pitching.

There’s no consistency, however.

On Wednesday night, they didn’t have a quality start on the mound from starter Joe Saunders in a 8-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Globe Life Park.

Tuesday night, the Rangers got a quality start from Colby Lewis but not enough hitting in an 8-2 loss to Detroit.

The season-high losing streak could grow as the Tigers look for the three-game sweep Thursday evening.

"It’s definitely hard to comprehend a seven-game losing streak," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It is what it is. We know why: We just got to score some runs, and we got to pitch better."

One of the men expected to produce, Prince Fielder, is out for the season because of neck surgery. All he can do is visit and encourage his teammates.

Rangers left-hander starter Derek Holland can’t pitch right now because he’s recovering from knee surgery. He’s expected back after the All-Star break.

Will the season essentially be over by then?

Washington’s options to fix this problem are limited due to injuries and ineffective play from several players.

"They battled and they’re leaving their heart out there on the field, and they come out to the ballpark every day and they prepare," Washington said. "We just got to get consistent in a few areas. And once we get consistent in a few areas, we’ll start putting things back together."

Washington is being patient and hopeful his squad produces a little bit at a time.

Carlos Pena was called up to the big club on Tuesday and went 0-for-4. He didn’t hit one ball out of the infield. On Wednesday, he went 2-for-5 with a home run.

In the ninth inning, Pena struck out swinging on a Joe Nathan fastball to end the game. He represented the tying run.

Washington said Pena will be fine because he’s got a track record of success. The Rangers need his previous seasons of that to crop up now.

Adrian Beltre is on a tear, going 9-for-12 over the past three contests.

But Beltre needs help.

Alex Rios struck out with a man on in the fourth, Shin-Soo Choo scored twice and struck out in the seventh with a man on. Elvis Andrus went 0-for-4 with a walk and run scored.

The bullpen continues its struggles. In the past five games, the Rangers produced just 11 runs.

Things improved on Wednesday.

"It got better; that’s a good thing for us," leadoff man Leonys Martin said. "Everybody is trying to focus on every single at-bat and hit a good pitch. That’s a key."

Martin said this club isn’t frustrated.

Before the game, Beltre was asked about holding a team meeting. He said it wasn’t necessary.

The season is long and here we are in the latter part of June talking about the team's losing streaks and attempts to dwindle a double-digit deficit in the standings.

"I have no complaints about the way they go about their business," Washington said. "We just have to score some runs, and we just got to pitch."