Rangers' offense goes quietly off to Cleveland
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' 2-0 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday afternoon was pretty much a rerun of their other four losses since the All-Star break.
Title it "Offensive Futility."
The Rangers were shut out for the sixth time Thursday, one more time than all of 2012. Four of those shutouts have come at home. This blanking came on a 95-degree day. That's the last thing fans want to sit through.
The Rangers scored 17 runs on their seven-game homestand against Baltimore and the New York Yankees. That's 2.4 runs per game. That's not enough, even as good as their pitching has been since the break.
"It's not hitting on the cylinders we need to hit on," manager Ron Washington said of the offense. "Just a little inconsistent."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels acknowledged earlier in the week that losing 70 home runs off last year's team -- see Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Michael Young -- has taken its toll.
And the Rangers are actively seeking help in the trade market. A source said Thursday that the front office is looking at a variety of hitters, from the Chicago White Sox's Alex Rios and Paul Konerko to San Francisco's Hunter Pence and Seattle's Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse.
That doesn't mean the Rangers can wait around for help from a trade or two. The current players need to pick things up, especially when Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre, who have carried the offense for much of the season, stop driving in runs for a few days.
Cruz and Beltre were 10-for-51 with two home runs and four RBIs on the seven-game homestand.
"It's a different offense, but it's an effective offense if everyone plays up to their capability," Washington said. "We've got most of the same guys out there and we're just not getting it done on a regular basis."
Washington tried to do something from the dugout to ignite the offense with the Rangers trailing the Yankees and Hiroki Kuroda 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth.
Ian Kinsler led off with a single, bringing up Elvis Andrus, whose single in the first inning gave him a hit in all seven games since the break. Washington showed confidence in Andrus, who is back in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, by putting on a hit-and-run. Andrus got a nasty sinker from Kuroda and couldn't get the bat on the ball. Kinsler was out easily at second base.
"I was just trying to make contact," Andrus said. "It's always been the toughest one for me. You're trying to do your job."
Andrus ended up reaching with an infield single and Cruz drew a walk as he battled through a nine-pitch at-bat with Kuroda. But Beltre flew out and A.J. Pierzynski was robbed on a sliding catch in left field by Vernon Wells.
Kinsler's out ended up being a big one. But sometimes a manager has to do something to jump-start his offense.
"When you start doing plays like that, there's a reason," Andrus said. "(Kuroda) had been tough today and he's been great the whole year. Sometimes when you can [pull off a] hit-and-run you can wake up the whole offense."
The Rangers had only one more hit in the final three innings, an infield single by Beltre in the ninth inning against all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera. Down two runs to Rivera, the odds are way against you. A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland grounded out to end the game.
Maybe a three-day road trip to Cleveland will provide the magic potion to turn around an offensive season that has been blah. The Rangers, who came into Thursday's game ninth in the AL in runs, have taken another step back with the bats since the All-Star break.
"It's definitely not what we're looking for," Moreland said. "We've come out flat after the All-Star break. We didn't get the job [done] like we needed to."
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