Saturday, June 15, 2013
Rangers cold again in loss to Jays
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers had Ian Kinsler back. Their starting pitcher, Josh Lindblom, gave up four hits. They even outhit Toronto 9-8.
And they lost. Again.
That's what the Rangers are doing these days. Losing. And they're following the same blueprint: falling behind and not hitting with runners in scoring position, whether it's going 0-for-3 in those situations on Thursday and Friday or 1-for-13 on Saturday.
There's no magical cure, either, so veteran designated hitter Lance Berkman says to stop searching for one.
"We just need to show up and start the game," Berkman said. "Everyone wants to look for an answer, and it's futile. There's no rhyme or reason for it. We just need to show up and win. It's all about winning games."
The Rangers have lost five games in a row for the first time since last July. They were outscored 32-9 during that stretch and turned around and won five out of six games. They still had a healthy four-game lead in the American League West after the 2012 losing skid.
They've been outscored this time 27-6, and the offense has been even worse. Leonys Martin's fielder's choice with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth cut Toronto's lead to 4-1 and snapped 21 innings of scoreless baseball for the Rangers.
Chris McGuiness had a single to load the bases right before Martin's RBI groundout, and that ended an 0-for-11 skid with runners in scoring position. The Rangers left 11 men on base.
It didn't help matters that they were behind 2-0 before Kinsler stepped in the batter's box for his return in the bottom of the first.
Lindblom pitched well enough Saturday to keep the Rangers of the first two months of the season in a game. But he's not pitching in front of that team.
Lindblom said he made a physical mistake on a curveball to Adam Lind in the top of the first, not getting the pitch in on the left-handed hitter. Lind ripped the hanger off the right-field foul pole for a 2-0 lead.
Lindblom blamed himself for a mental mistake in the fourth inning, going with a changeup against Colby Rasmus when Rangers pitchers have had luck going in on his hands. Lindblom left the changeup over the plate -- he regretted not throwing a cutter -- and Rasmus crushed it for another two-run home run and a 4-0 lead.
That's an insurmountable lead against this week's Rangers.
To his credit, Lindblom didn't try to pin the loss on the Rangers' bats.
"What the offense does has no bearing on the pitchers," Lindblom said. "Our job is to go out there and compete."
The Rangers were in danger of falling three games behind Oakland if the A's beat Seattle on Saturday night. Oakland comes to Texas for a four-game series starting Monday.
Will the Rangers have their ship righted by then?
Kinsler, who was 0-for-4 in his return, will help. He had two very good at-bats but didn't get rewarded with them. He feels like his swing coming around.
He said the team will, too.
"We're just trying to play good baseball," Kinsler said. "Playing the game right and play it hard. That will end the losing streak."