ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas manager Ron Washington said Wednesday night that an opponent scoring five runs against the Rangers usually isn’t a bad thing.
It is these days.
Cleveland scored five runs off starter Nick Tepesch and that was more than enough offense as the Indians won the series with a 5-2 victory over the Rangers.
Texas has scored just 36 runs in its 11 June games and is now 4-7 this month.
Once again Wednesday the offense did almost nothing. Texas scored two runs for the second straight game as the Indians limited the Rangers to eight hits, six of which were singles.
Five of the eight hits came from the No. 1 (Jurickson Profar) and No. 9 hitters (Leonys Martin) while the other seven starters combined to go 3 for 24 with nine strikeouts. That’s not going to win a lot of games, which the Rangers have found out during their June swoon.
“We’re not having great at-bats up and down the lineup,” said designated hitter Lance Berkman, who went 1 for 2 and drew a pair of walks. “It just doesn’t seem like we can get anything going. You go through stretches like that where you get a guy on and then the next guy hits into a double play or just something crazy happens – you hit a ball hard and it gets hard. But that’s part of playing a season.”
The Ranger did hit into two double plays Wednesday and they did hit some balls hard. But they were also just 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and they also left nine runners on base. The Rangers are hitting just .221 in June and are 15 for 87 with runners in scoring position for the month (.172). The team has failed to score more than three runs in eight of those games.
While the numbers are bad, Washington is remaining patient because he knows better days are ahead.
“We’re just trying to get them to relax and do what they’re capable of doing with the pitches that you get and not think about what the results are going to be,” Washington said. “June hasn’t been good but we’re going to continue to fight through it.”
It didn’t help that Wednesday they were once again fighting an uphill battle as Tepesch was done after allowing five runs in five innings. He was never able to settle in as the Indians touched him for two runs in the second, one in the third and two more in the fifth.
Tepesch (3-6) has now allowed 11 runs over his last two starts and hasn’t won a game in a month. He hurt himself early as he hit Jason Giambi on a 1-2 pitch with two outs and then Mike Aviles followed with a two-run homer to account for the second-inning runs.
Those are the kinds of things that happen when your team is scuffling.
“Some night you’re going to have it and other nights you’re going to have to work pretty hard for it and tonight was one of those nights,” said Tepesch, who allowed eight hits in his start. “Command was probably the biggest thing. I wasn’t making pitches here and there. It’s going to happen.”
The two runs in the second proved to be a huge hole for Texas as the Rangers were able to score just once off Ubaldo Jimenez, that coming on a Leonys Martin homer in the third inning. That was it for Texas against Jimenez, who came into the game with a 5.03 ERA.
That was it for the Rangers overall too as Texas didn’t score again until the ninth inning.
“It’s definitely something we need to turn around as soon as possible,” said outfielder David Murphy, who went 0 for 5 and is now hitting just .211. “It’s the obvious things. We’ve got to start getting more hits, getting guys on base and when we get those guys on base, we’ve got to string together more hits, walks, have good at-bats with runners in scoring position. Overall production has been a little slow.”