Sunday, July 27, 2014
Rangers hitters struggling
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- There is only so much the general manager can do with the roster. The trade deadline is Thursday afternoon and Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels isn’t looking to make upgrades to this roster for a late-season push.
Finding quality prospects to make an impact in the next year or two is the goal.
The Rangers' loss to the October-bound A's on Sunday puts them 23 games under .500, and in line for the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
So what’s left of the Rangers' roster, through the injuries and ineffective play, are nights like this: The Rangers were beaten up pretty badly by a team headed toward October baseball in the Oakland Athletics 9-3 on Sunday night.
At this rate, the Rangers, 23 games under .500, are headed to the No. 1 overall pick in the first-year player draft and thinking about when pitchers and catchers report next February.
Manager Ron Washington is dealing with young, inexperienced pitchers, such as Miles Mikolas, who pitched well in New York on Monday and struggled with his mechanics on Sunday.
Mikolas suffered the loss in going 4⅔ innings, allowing eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits. He walked four and made a costly error by throwing to second base in an attempt to get a force play. The throw sailed wide of Elvis Andrus and it led Washington to second-guess the throw because, simply, it didn’t work out.
“We know and I know especially, young guys, they’re in a process,” Andrus said. “They’re learning about how to pitch and they’re facing different guys every single start and it's always going to be tough for them. Everything they can do is keep pushing and keep trying and at some point they’re going to figure it out.”
The error was part of a five-run second inning, and when you commit miscues against a team like the Athletics, everything goes down from there.
“I wouldn’t say it was the right play; if he hit his mark it would have been an out and the ball just tailed and we couldn’t get to it,” Washington said. “In hindsight, I wish he would have took the out at first base; you had speed on first -- [Craig] Gentry didn’t hit the ball too well and everything had to work out perfect right there. So I’m not going to second-guess what he did; if he hit his mark we would have gotten the out.”
You can’t put everything on Mikolas because at 25 years old, he’s expected to have his share of ups and downs.
The hitters, or what’s left of them, need to provide Washington and Daniels with something more.
Washington ended Arencibia’s night by pinch hitting for him in the ninth inning. It wasn’t meant as a punishment, just more of giving someone else a chance.
When Arencibia had his own chance he swung and missed on two good pitches from Scott Kazmir to end the third and fifth innings.
“That’s J.P., what you see is what it is,” Washington said of Arencibia now hitting .147 on the season. “It’s something you got to live with.”
The heart of the order did its part in some ways; Alex Rios and Adrian Beltre got on base a combined five times.
Only Beltre scored when he hit a solo shot in the eighth.
“We have to play as a team,” Rios said. “I don’t think you put any kind of pressure on doing something that’s going to be harder to do than usual. We are still playing baseball; it's hard, as you can see, and when you’re losing it makes it a little harder. It’s not much to say. You have to keep grinding.”