Offense can’t dig Rangers out of early hole

ARLINGTON, Texas – Consistent pitching hasn’t been the lone problem for the Texas Rangers during their summer swoon.

An offense that’s unable to pick up the pitchers has also plagued the Rangers.

That was on display once again Saturday night as Colby Lewis was touched for five runs in the first four innings before settling down. And while the Rangers did rally to make things interesting, a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels capped the night.

Texas, which has lost four straight, has now failed to score more than four runs in nine of its last 10 games.  And with a starting rotation that’s struggling, that just won’t cut it.

"He (Lewis) kept us in the ballgame and that’s all we can ask," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We certainly put ourselves in position to make a difference, early in the ballgame too, but we just couldn’t get that big blow."

The way the Texas offense is currently going, more nights like Saturday are all but guarantees. Four of the nine Texas starters came into the game slumping, with No. 3 hitter Alex Rios, No. 6 hitter J.P. Arencibia and No. 7 hitter Jim Adduci a combined 0 for 47 when the night started. Throw in Rougned Odor’s 1 for 10 start to the night and it’s easy to see why the Rangers are struggling to sustain any offense.

At least a couple of those four showed some signs of life Saturday but it was too late. Lewis struggled early as the Angels built a 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth.

The Rangers got on the board with a Shin-Soo Choo solo homer and then Arencibia snapped an 0-19 slump with an RBI single to center. But with the chance to add more runs, Jim Adduci flew out to right.

Texas scored two more in the seventh with Alex Rios snapping an 0 for 16 slide with an two-run single to center to make it a 5-4 game. But Adrian Beltre grounded out to second to end the last Texas threat as Rangers didn’t have a baserunner over the final two innings.

Despite the struggles the Rangers hitters know what they’re capable of.

"It doesn’t help my confidence at all," Alex Rios said of his one hit. "It’s one of these things that you’re going to go through in the season at some point. I’m very confident and optimistic I can do good things."

While the offense is scuffling, there were good things happening Saturday. Lewis struck out 10 and the young Texas bullpen continued to excel.

Lewis allowed homers to Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick but was done in by a broken bat two-run single by Kole Calhoun with two outs in the fifth inning.

"I knew I had really great stuff," Lewis said. "The slider was working really well, I was locating the fastball. In the first couple innings I just left a couple balls over the middle with the fastball."
The trio of Phil Klein, Neal Cotts and Roman Mendez combined for three scoreless innings and the relief staff has now allowed just one run in the last 20 2/3 innings of work.

Now if only that bullpen work could carry over to the offense.