Thursday, May 24, 2012
Rangers not concerned with offense
By Master Tesfatsion
SEATTLE -- It seems just about every Rangers player with a bat in his hands has been in a funk lately, and the only reasonable explanation in the clubhouse is ... well, to paraphrase the manager, that's the way baseball goes.
"We haven’t been the best offense, for sure," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "It’s kind of gotten rough a little bit fighting through it, but that’s the way the season goes. We’re going to have good times and we’re going to have bad times, and right now it’s not the best time for our offense playing well."
Rangers manager Ron Washington plans to sleep in and relax during the Rangers' first scheduled off day since May 3. The last thing on his mind is the offensive struggles this early in the season, considering the same lineup has won back-to-back American League championships.
"We’re in May," Washington said. "We've just got to keep grinding like we always do. I have quality guys out there in that clubhouse and we’ll put it back together."
In the past 10 games, the Rangers offense has been outscored by a run in series against the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
"We know we can play better baseball than we have right now, but sometimes you’ve got to stay humble," Andrus said.
They were on the cusp of breaking out Wednesday, but they couldn't catch a break in a 5-3 loss to the Mariners.
Nelson Cruz hit two shots to the warning track in right field. Michael Young saw 20 pitches in his first two plate appearances and he didn't have a hit to show for it. Young hit a hard ground ball up over the mound that was kicked by pitcher Kevin Millwood to keep it in the infield in the second. Young had another ground ball dance down the third-base line in the third. It appeared to be a hit until Kyle Seager made a great play to record the out.
Young is batting .233 (19-of-87) with a .322 slugging percentage and eight RBIs in May. He's struck out 16 times and collected just two walks.
"I feel fine," Young said. "Those are the at-bats I want to keep on having. I don’t look at them as grinding. I look at them as a couple good at-bats. If I keep doing that, then things will start going my way."
He doesn't see the team's struggles as a slump. Just as quickly as the bats went cold, the Rangers know all it takes is a few good at-bats to get them going again.
"If we go through a tough stretch and we’re playing .500 ball, sometimes that happens," Young said. "But we know we're capable of going on hot stretches where we get a ton of wins in a row. We just stay focused on the things we know we're capable of."
Even with the woes at the plate, the Rangers are still nine games over .500.
"We're still in first place [of the AL West], and that's all that matters," Andrus said.