BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Rangers have lost two more series after the Seattle Mariners completed a three game sweep Wednesday night. Texas dropped to 7-14 for the season, good enough to give the Rangers a solid grip on last place in the American League West, as they trail the Astros by seven games. The Rangers have still not won a series this season, or even two games in a row. Their record in the first seven series is now 0-5-2.
Texas scrambled last weekend to win Sunday’s finale in Anaheim to avoid a three game sweep at the hands of the Angels. Trailing 3-2 in the eighth inning, they rallied to tie the game and send it to overtime at 3-3. Texas scored twice in the 11th and held off Los Angeles in the bottom half for the 5-4 win.
The highlight of the Angels’ series was Nick Martinez (again). He didn’t have his good stuff, but completed six scoreless innings to drop his ERA to 0.39 in four starts. He left with the Rangers ahead 2-0, but his chance for a win lasted just three batters into the seventh inning. A mis-played fly ball to right field fell in for a ground rule double to open the inning, and one batter later a home run tied the game.
Martinez’s record stays at 2-0, but the Rangers are 4-0 in his starts, with all four wins following a loss. Go Nick!
Highlights were harder to find in the Seattle series. The offense simply is dead in the water. Texas scored just four runs in the series, and finished the month with a .210 batting average, clearly the worst in baseball. That’s historically bad, the worst month in Ranger history since the designated hitter became part of the game in 1973. The only two batters with decent averages are Prince Fielder (.333) and Mitch Moreland (.304). Moreland however was placed on the disabled list with an elbow problem and will miss more than two weeks.
Sin-Shoo Choo was the worst of numerous bad performances. He hit .096 for the month getting five hits in 52 at bats.
Texas scored just 12 runs over the past two series. The defense has taken a downturn too. The Rangers committed four errors in Wednesday’s series finale against the Mariners which brings their error total to 21 on the season, most in the American League. The Rangers have now lost three games in a row and six of their last seven.
The buzz around the Seattle series though was the return of Josh Hamilton. The deal was finalized and Hamilton was introduced in a Monday afternoon press conference. He said all the right things as he tries to repair his image with local fans after his rowdy departure two seasons ago. He left immediately for extended spring training in Surprise, Arizona. At some point in the next 10 days to two weeks, he likely starts a minor league rehab assignment. Texas is rumored to be targeting somewhere after mid-May for his return.
The Rangers were off Thursday, then resume the home stand this weekend against Oakland. The pitchers for the series will be Colby Lewis on Friday, Nick Martinez on Saturday and Yovani Gallardo on Sunday. Oakland will counter with Scott Kazmir, Drew Pomeranz and Sonny Gray.
* Nick Tepesch was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Hamilton, who is of course on the disabled list after shoulder surgery. Mitch Moreland was also placed on the disabled list on Wednesday with an elbow problem. That brings the total number of Rangers on the DL to 12, including eight on the 60-day list. Lance Blanks was called up to take Moreland’s place on the active roster.