Arlington, Tex – Last week the Texas Rangers appeared to be have it all together. They entered Oakland to play a 3-game set with their ace Yu Darvish starting the series. Darvish normally struggles against the A’s and that was pretty much the case again. But, this time he stuck it out over 6 inning and managed to only give up 3 runs. The next two games, the Rangers would pitch and hit well to leave Oakland with a half game lead in the American League West.
That’s actually pretty amazing on a couple of fronts. First of all, the Rangers did it despite having about 13 total players on the disabled list. Also, the managed to get the sweep using rookie Nick Martinez. After Opening day when anyone looked at the calendar they would just hope to be .500 in the month of April and probably figured it would be nice to take 1 of 3 on the road against Oakland.
The Rangers replacements played far better than anyone could have figured. Call ups such as Kevin Kouzmanoff did an outstanding job filling in for his counterpart. Those players are mainly responsible in helping the Rangers take a month high of .5 game lead in the division.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to and end. The Rangers ended the road trip with a 3-game set against the Seattle Mariners, a series where they could have easily swept it also, but the bullpen failed to hold the lead. The Rangers had a 3 run lead in the 8th in Friday’s game. But Neal Cotts, who’s last name might be a curse word in many homes, was tagged for 4 runs. Also, the game was within reach on Sunday, but Alexi Ogando allowed a 3-run home run to Kyle Seager to give the Mariners a late game lead.
Luckily for the Texas Rangers, the Houston Astros did them a favor during the weekend by splitting the series 2-2 against Oakland. That setup the Rangers and the Athletics all knotted up on Monday in the division with a record of 15-9.
Then starting on Monday, everyone saw Charlie Brown baseball. Nothing could seem to go right. Yu Darvish, Martin Perez and Robbie Ross all were hit hard gave up several runs. Darvish had his worst outing as a major league pitcher. He only lasted 3.1 innings and gave up 4 earned runs. It seemed like Darvish was in longer, but that’s only because the innings themselves were so long. The Rangers lost Monday’s game with a score of 0-4. It was the first time Rangers were shutout the season and they were only able to scratch out 3 hits. If you ask Sonny Gray, it was probably pay back for the complete game 3-hit shutout that Martin Perez pitched against them last week.
Martin Perez entered Tuesday’s game trying to extend his scoreless streak. Also, he was riding on 2 complete game 3-hit shutouts. That streak didn’t last long. The Athletics ended it in the first inning. Like Darvish, things quickly unraveled for him. Perez was tagged for 8 earned run, his worst start of the year. He wasn’t able to locate his pitches and everything that was close to the zone was for a hit. The Rangers lost that game 9-3.
Finally, worst of the worst, Robbie Ross Jr. was supposed to right the ship. When you think how could it possibly get worse, well it did. The Athletics came out swinging and everything was a hit. The outfield looked tied and so did Elvis Andrus. It seemed like there were several plays that either the A’s were just magically placing the ball, or the outfielders were not playing very well to the batter. The errors bug bit hard yesterday also. Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios combined for 4 errors yesterday. That’s got to be a true sign of Charlie Brown baseball.
Andrus commented about his error that should have been a routine grounder for a double play
“A Little League play,” Andrus said. (MLB.com – T.R. Sullivan)
The Rangers were out scored 25-4 in the series and out hit 45-15 by the Athletics. Looking back, I’ve yet to find a worse 3-game home stand for the Rangers. Honestly, how much worse can it be? They never lead any of the games, the Rangers didn’t hit any home runs. And it appeared just reaching third base wasn’t a challenge.
Sometimes a team will hit bottom during a season, hopefully we’ve seen it early. If there is a worst series than this, then I don’t want to see it, but who does? Just the Athletics and their fans!
Maybe the Texas Rangers are having to make some adjustments. Apparently now they have a regular catcher with Robinson Chirinos. Also, Adrian Beltre, Matt Harrison, Colby Lewis and Nick Martinez are back. They are missing Kevin Kouzmanoff and Jim Adduci right now. They an off today today, maybe they’ll clear their heads. The next series against the Angels won’t be as easy as it was last year, the Rangers will need to be the same team that sweep the A’s last week to have a chance to beat them.
The Rangers are not the worst in the American League West, but after their last three games they are definitely playing the worst.