ARLINGTON, Texas – One of the requirements in the ongoing audition for rotation spots for the Texas Rangers is having the ability to be consistent from start-to-start.
Miles Mikolas is still trying to meet that requirement.
Mikolas, who helped his resume with a nice start at New York Monday, couldn’t use that start as momentum for his Sunday start against Oakland.
The right-hander allowed eight runs (seven earned) in just 4 2/3 innings in a 9-3 loss to the A’s that denied the Rangers a chance at a series win.
Texas hasn’t won a series this month or won consecutive games since the calendar flipped to July. Inconsistent starting pitching has been one of the reasons and Mikolas’ outing Sunday fit the mold perfectly.
"That’s what the majors leagues is about, being consistent," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We haven’t been able to do that. I think you have to give him (Mikolas) credit. He was almost gone in the second inning. He almost got five. I wish he would have got through five and then maybe he could have got us six. But it didn’t work out that way."
Mikolas worked around a walk and a single in the first inning but that was the end of the highlights for him. In the second inning the A’s batted around against him, scoring five times with three-consecutive hits with one out doing the bulk of the damage. Mikolas didn’t help his cause. The ugliness started with consecutive one-out walks. A Craig Gentry tapper back to him ended in disaster as his throw to second sailed into center, allowing the first run of the game to score.
A 5-0 deficit was cut to three thanks to the first homer of the season by Adam Rosales but Oakland punished Mikolas with three more runs in the fifth, ending his night and his bid to become the first Texas starter to win consecutive starts in two months (Nick Tepesch May 21-26).
Walking four, giving up seven hits and failing to find the strike zone consistency doomed Mikolas (1-3), who saw his ERA jump to 8.54.
"Giving guys free passes is never a good idea," Mikolas said. "I struggled with my control a little bit today. I think I fell into some of the bad habits that we had been working to correct in the bullpen. I think I slid back into those. I’m going to work on it and be sharp in my next outing, a few mechanical tweaks here and there that we made. I executed them well and made the transition well during the New York game and I kind of fell back into bad habits."
The Texas season of bad habits offensively continued too. Despite the 5-0 hole the Rangers had chances. Texas had runners on first and second against All-Star Scott Kazmir in the third but J.P. Arencibia struck out to end the inning.
After Oakland tacked on the three runs in the top of the fifth the Rangers loaded in the bottom of the inning. But once again Kazmir struck out Arencibia,
While the pitching hasn’t been stellar since the All-Star break, the Rangers have scored more than four runs just twice in the eight post-break games.
"We have to play as a team," Alex Rios said. "I don’t think we have to put any kind of pressure on doing something that’s going to be harder to do than usual. We’re still playing baseball. It’s hard as you can see and when you’re losing things can get a little harder. There’s not much you can see. We just have to keep grinding."