ARLINGTON, Texas — As if the Rangers needed more incentive to make a move at the trade deadline, starting pitcher Roy Oswalt bottomed out Monday in a 15-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Not even the amazing development of a Rangers hit with a runner in scoring position — ending an 0-for-29 skid – could eclipse another shaky outing for the veteran right-hander. The Angels broke open a tight game with nine runs in the sixth inning. ... But maybe the rare sight of a second-inning home run from the light-hitting Maicer Izturis was a sign of the coming barrage.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said Oswalt's health wasn't a concern after watching him give up eight runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Oswalt needed an injection last week to alleviate back stiffness and had to miss a start. Washington pointed out the lack of a spring training for his veteran pitcher, but the A's and Angels aren't showing much sympathy.
The Rangers did reportedly trade Double-A pitcher Jacob Brigham for Chicago Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, the 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, on Monday. However, that's not the sort of move that jump-starts a team that has lost its way in July.
Washington said after the game that he would be "waiting and watching" to see what happens at the deadline. Nolan Ryan made it clear Monday on KESN-FM 103.3 that the Rangers had a strong interest in Zack Greinke before the pitcher was dealt to the rival Angels, but not enough to give up top prospects such as Mike Olt and Martin Perez.
Even though Greinke lost his first start with Los Angeles on Sunday, he certainly gives its staff some quality depth. You can bet that Rangers players are looking to see if their organization responds.
"If everybody was healthy, I would say we don't need another starter," shortstop Elvis Andrus told FOXSportsSouthwest.com. "But with how good Colby [Lewis] has been in the postseason, it's pretty obvious we need someone."
Of course, the first pitcher on Andrus' wish list is Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, which is far-fetched at this point. But Andrus is right about the Rangers needing help from outside.
Oswalt has the great postseason pedigree, but he doesn't look anything like the guy who dominated NL hitters for the better part of a decade. He told pitching coach Mike Maddux early on Monday that he couldn't find a consistent arm angle.
Oswalt was still trying to make adjustments when he tried to throw a fastball low and away to Angels rookie Mike Trout in the third inning. The pitch tailed inside and Trout hit a two-run homer to right field to give the Angels a 3-2 lead. Oswalt kept his team in the game until things grew ugly in the sixth.
"I've got six starts in. If I had 20-something starts it'd be different, but I've got six starts in," Oswalt said. "I didn't get to throw my last start, so you've got 10 days in between. You're trying to get in a rhythm of throwing and I just could never find it tonight.”
The sudden turnaround of Scott Feldman has given the Rangers a lift, but it seems premature to depend on him the rest of the season. Plus, Oswalt's struggles have to give the Rangers pause as they try to hold off the A's and Angels in the division race. Oswalt now has a 6.49 ERA after six starts and he's allowed at least 11 hits in three of those outings.
The Rangers don't really have the luxury of standing pat at the deadline, although they have been very reluctant to part with top prospects Olt and Perez. The only way this team would discuss trading Jurickson Profar is if the Seattle Mariners had the inclination to move Hernandez. That's not happening, so fans will have to see how creative the Rangers can be Tuesday.
It's most likely they will try to see if Alexi Ogando can fortify the rotation. He made the All-Star team as a starter last season and has the type of stuff that can make him dominating at times.
Late Monday evening, a source within the organization said the market for starting pitching was "bleak." It still wouldn't be shocking if the Rangers pulled something off, but for now it appears they'll have to look within.
On Monday against the Angels, that was a shaky proposition.