Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Rangers' offense in need of reinforcements
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland took batting practice before Wednesday's game as they continue working to return from the 15-day disabled list.
They can't get back soon enough.
The Rangers didn't get enough production from their batters Wednesday -- Nelson Cruz, above, went 0-for-3 -- during the loss to Cleveland.
The Texas Rangers need the cavalry to arrive in a hurry after the offense scuffled through nine more innings Wednesday night in a 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Rangers Ballpark.
By the way, that's an Indians club that had lost eight straight games -- and even worse, 12 in a row on the road -- before taking consecutive 5-2 victories from the Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Rangers could have used a little more from starting pitchers Nick Tepesch and Derek Holland, and the baserunning has been bad -- though not on Wednesday.
But the main culprit during a 4-7 June has been the offense.
And it's fair to say the Rangers miss their leadoff hitter, Kinsler, their catalyst and their first baseman, Moreland, who had 12 home runs before suffering a right hamstring strain last week in Boston.
"There's no doubt we're missing two key guys," said designated hitter Lance Berkman, who reached base three times in Wednesday's loss. "They were producing a lot of our offense. We've been without them now for a while."
The Rangers have to wait for Kinsler until Sunday at the earliest and Moreland on June 21. To get things turned around starting Thursday, others will have to contribute.
They need to get hits with runners in scoring position. June has not been kind to the Rangers, who as a collection of hitters have batted .172 with runners in scoring position. They have 15 hits in 11 games in those crucial situations.
If it seems like most of the offense is coming from home runs, it is. Half of the Rangers' scoring output the past two nights has come on solo homers by A.J. Pierzynski on Tuesday night and Leonys Martin in the third inning on Wednesday.
"We're not doing a very good job of producing runs other than on home runs," Berkman said. "We've struggled with runners in scoring position. We're just not stringing together any hits."
Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez tried to help the cause with four walks. And the Rangers made some progress with better at-bats Wednesday night.
"We tried to not go too early tonight," Washington said of his team taking pitches and working some walks.
Left fielder David Murphy, who is having the toughest time of Rangers hitters while batting mostly in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, made the last out in two innings with runners on base. He also hit into a double play after Jurickson Profar singled in the third to follow Martin's home run.
Murphy came up as the tying run. He walked back to the dugout, the victim of a third double play in two nights. Murphy is batting .211 after Wednesday's 0-for-5 night.
"Double plays are rally-killers," Murphy said. "We have an idea of what we want to do. We just have to follow through with that idea."