Saturday, September 22, 2012
Absence of big bats hinders Rangers
By Taylor Soper / Special to ESPNDallas.com
SEATTLE -- The absences of Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre not only affected the Texas Rangers at the plate but also in the field during Friday's 6-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
With Hamilton due to miss the entire series because of balance and vision issues and Beltre sitting out Friday with intestinal problems, the offense took a blow.
"Those are our horses," Rangers left fielder David Murphy said. "Between them, they have 70-something home runs and 200-plus RBI."
Precisely, it's 76 home runs, 228 RBIs and a whole lot of headaches for opposing pitchers. But Friday night, the Seattle pitching staff didn't have to deal with that.
Beltre is scheduled to start Saturday. He arrived in Friday night after undergoing tests in Los Angeles on Friday morning. Hamilton, on the other hand, will stay in Texas for the weekend in hopes of recovering from a sinus infection that has plagued him with balance and vision problems.
Murphy did his best to pick up the offensive load against the Mariners with the two big bats out of the lineup. He came into the game with just one hit in his last 11 at-bats but went 3-for-4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle.
"We're going to battle offensively and do whatever we can to scratch runs across," Murphy said of not having Beltre and Hamilton. "It hurts, but we're not at a point in the year when we can sit back and dwell on that. We have to keep playing good baseball and keep nailing down wins."
With Beltre not at third base, Michael Young was forced to the hot corner. The veteran made a key error on a tough grounder in the fourth that allowed an extra run to come across. Hitting in the three-hole, Young extended his hitting streak to 10 games but also grounded into two double plays.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said before the game that his players don't pay attention to the team's medical issues.
"As long as we've got nine guys on the field, we are going to go out there and play together and try to win a ballgame together," he said. "We are not going to react to something we have no control over. We are going to put nine guys out there and compete."
For the skipper, it's not even about production at the plate at the end of the day.
"All of it will come down to pitching," he said. "If the pitching does a good job, we'll be fine."
Friday's starter, Martin Perez, made his first start since July 24 and gave up three runs in four innings. He certainly kept his team in the game, but Alexi Ogando gave up a two-run homer in the eighth that sealed it for the Mariners.