That’s what Texas manager Ron Washington said the Rangers’ offense needs to do after its 2-0 loss to the New York Yankees Thursday.
That’s a good idea, but the problem is that it may be hard to keep grinding if the offense has come to a complete stop. As the 2-5 home stand showed, that may be the case.
Texas squandered another solid start from Derek Holland as the Rangers managed just seven singles in their sixth shutout loss of the season.
The reasons for the offensive meltdown are the same ones the Rangers have had all season. The team went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position Wednesday and are now just 13 for 79 (.165) in the last 12 games. Guys the Rangers are counting on to bounce back in the second half like David Murphy and Mitch Moreland aren’t hitting as they went a combined 0 for 7 Thursday. Moreland’s average is now at .250 and Murphy’s is .224. And the guys the Rangers have counted on this season like Nelson Cruz and Adrian Beltre are now in funks. Beltre went just 6 for 28 (.214) on the home stand, but that was better than Cruz who was just 4 for 23 (.174).
Add all the numbers up and there’s really no wonder the Rangers haven’t scored more than three runs in eight of their last 12 games.
“We’re just not hitting on the cylinders we need to be hitting on,” Washington said. “Just a little inconsistent but we’re going to keep grinding. It’s not like a base hit wouldn’t solve some things. We had an opportunity to get some base hits but we just didn’t get it.”
The Rangers have made an upgrade to their pitching staff with the addition of Matt Garza, but not even Garza can win if the Rangers can’t score. All he has to do is ask Holland about that.
Holland pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs. It wasn’t a shutout like he had against the Yankees the last time he faced them, but it was a good enough effort to have a chance at a victory.
But that’s not how the year has gone for Holland (8-6). Instead he’s now had just one run scored while he’s on the mound combined in his six losses. Thursday marked the fourth time in his six losses that Holland has pitched at least seven innings and allowed three or fewer earned runs.
Thursday the game-winning run came in the sixth on an RBI double off the bat off Brent Lillibridge. That run proved to be too much for the Rangers to overcome against Hiroki Kuroda, who pitched seven shutout innings before turning the ball over to the bullpen.
“All around I thought I did all right,” Holland said. “We just came up short. I know what my offense is capable of. I’m not going to get caught up in that just because they didn’t put up runs. I’ve got to do my job and that’s to limit damage and keep the runs down.”
What the offense was capable of in registering their fourth home shutout of the season was not much. Twice the Rangers had multiple hit innings but nothing materialized. Jurickson Profar’s leadoff single in the third was followed by a fielder’s choice from Murphy. After another hit put runners on first and second, Ian Kinsler struck out and Elvis Andrus grounded out.
Kinsler led off the sixth with a single with Texas trailing 1-0. But Andrus swung through a hit-and-run and Kinsler was thrown out at second base. Andrus followed with a single and Cruz walked to put runners on second and third.
But Kuroda got fly balls from Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski to end the inning.
That’s the kind of offensive output that’s going to result in the 34th game this year in which the Rangers have scored no more than two runs. They also now have 10 games without an extra-base hit, matching their 2012 total.
But unless the Rangers make a trade for at least one more bat, all the team can do is keep grinding.
“You can say what you want but we just didn’t get the job done like we were supposed to,” Moreland said. “In that situation you’ve just got to keep batting, keep grinding and try to bounce back from it. In this situation we’re definitely not where we want to be.”