Texas Rangers: Anthony Rizzo
“He was hanging his breaking ball, he was getting his fastball up and they didn’t miss it,” manager Ron Washington said. “They came out swinging today. Whenever he made a mistake with the breaking ball they hit it, and whenever he made a mistake with the fastball it left the ballpark.”
The Cubs pounded out 13 hits on the day and hit two home runs, both off Ogando. Ogando said he was consistently missing the zone, so he wanted to throw some strikes, but he left some pitches up and the Cubs bats feasted.
“By far today’s outing was the worst of all,” Ogando said. “Since (my fastball command) was off and I wanted to throw strikes, they took advantage of the pitches that stayed up.”
Ogando added that on top of his control issues, the wet mound – it had been raining for over 24 hours prior to first pitch – caused him to slip a couple times and made it difficult to pitch. Prior to giving up back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano, pitching coach Mike Maddux made a visit and the grounds crew did some mound maintenance.
Contrary to what his pitcher said, Washington was quick to shoot down any talk of problems with the mound.
“I didn’t hear anything about the mound,” Washington said. “It didn’t bother (Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva). They were doing maintenance all day. Not gonna use that as an excuse; he didn’t get it done.”
Washington said Ogando’s fastball has not been where it should be all season, but was confident he’d find it in short order.
CHICAGO -- The Texas Rangers (9-6) fell 6-2 to the Chicago Cubs (5-9) to split what ended up being a two-game series after Wednesday's rainout. The Cubs got to Alexi Ogando early, with Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano delivering back-to-back home runs in a four-run third inning. Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva was strong for his third consecutive start, holding the Rangers to only two runs. Yu Darvish is scheduled to get the start Friday for the Rangers when they return home to open up a three-game set with the Seattle Mariners.
Inefficient Ogando: Ogando has struggled with high pitch counts early on in the season and Thursday was no exception. Ogando was able to work through his issues with minimal issues in his previous outings, but he couldn't find the same magic against the Cubs. He walked Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro in his first two plate on eight straight pitches. Castro came into the game with no walks in 58 plate appearances. The real damage was done on back-to back-home runs by Rizzo and Soriano in a four-run third. Ogando gave up multiple runs in an outing for the first time this season.
Bats struggle: Entering the day, the Rangers were 12th in the AL in runs scored, and they did little to improve their standing. Outside of a combined 4-for-7 from Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler (each had a single and a solo home run), the offense went a 0-for-21 with a walk against Cubs pitching.
Up next: The Rangers head back to Arlington for a three-game home stand against the Seattle Mariners. Yu Darvish heads to the mound on six days rest to face Joe Saunders at 7:05 p.m. Friday night on TXA-21 and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.