Texas Rangers: 3 players who need to play better in the last two months

Texas has seemingly turned it around after the trade deadline, but they are being held back from playing better by these four players

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages
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The Texas Rangers emerged from the trade deadline with four new pitchers and a new backup catcher. These moves energized the team and help power them to an 8-game winning streak and helped them increase their lead on the Houston Astros to 2.5 games. The team continues to win and play good baseball, but they also have three players that have been really struggling since the All-Star break. Texas will need Ezequiel Duran, Leody Taveras, and Jon Gray to figure it out soon as Texas is trying to hold off the Houston Astros.

Ezequiel Duran comes back down to earth

Duran had a surprisingly good first half of the season. He went from not playing at all to being the starting shortstop when Seager went down with a hamstring injury. He rode that increased responsibility to an everyday job even after Seager returned. He went into the break with a .308 batting average, a .870 OPS, 12 home runs, 35 RBIS, and 29 extra-base hits. Some fans were even calling for him to supplant Corey Seager as the starting shortstop this season. He went from someone that might have been traded at the deadline to an untouchable piece.

That has not continued post All-Star break. Duran's bat has completely disappeared in the 24 games since the break. Duran has a .156 batting average, a .526 OPS, two home runs, five RBIs, and 24 strikeouts to eight walks. He also has just three extra base hits in the 21 games he has played in. Duran was a vital cog in the Rangers' lineup and now he is almost an automatic out anytime he steps up to the plate.

Josh Jung will be out for much of the rest of the regular season. In his absence, they need Duran to really step up not only defensively for Jung, but offensively as well. He has to have better at-bats and force pitchers to throw strikes. Right now he is getting himself out by swinging at balls and not working counts. If he can make the adjustments necessary Texas will be able to survive the loss of Jung to the broken thumb.