Texas Rangers must regroup with A’s rolling into town

Posted Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A
Tough stretch A look at the Rangers’ next three opponents:
TeamOverall recordVs. Rangers
Oakland85-617-9
Tampa Bay79-661-2
Kansas City77-691-2
Rangers on September struggles Joe Nathan: “We can’t even look at standings right now. If we’re focused on that, we’re focused on the wrong things.” Matt Garza: “We’re playing catch-up now, and I don’t think we saw ourselves in this position, but we’re going to be resilient and keep fighting. That’s all we can do.” Adrian Beltre: “Whatever happened in this series [against Pittsburgh] we’re going to wash it off and not think about it. We’ll come back Friday and battle against Oakland. No other options. We’ve got to look forward and try to find a way to stay more consistent in every phase of the game.” Elvis Andrus: “We still have a goal in front of us and we’re not going to sleep until we get it. If we start thinking about negative stuff, you’re looking for a reason not to do the right things. If we leave everything we have on the field, we’re going to be in really good shape.” Ron Washington: “These [losses] have pennant-race ramifications. But pennant-race pressure? Those that feel pressure in a pennant race won’t be in a pennant race. I don’t feel any pressure. I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Joe Nathan needed only a few seconds and a few words to describe the Texas Rangers’ feelings heading into their final off-day of the season.

It wasn’t a pleasant assessment, to say the least, after the Pittsburgh Pirates swept the Rangers with a pivotal series against the A’s on the horizon.

“Like [crap],” Nathan said. “There’s no other way to put it. When you get swept by a team in a big series, it’s not a good feeling. Good time for an off-day when you’re playing like this.”

September hasn’t gotten off to a promising start for the Rangers, who trail the A’s by 3 1/2 games in the division. The No. 1 issue has been from the offensive side. The lineup has rallied late in the past two games, although the Rangers were never able to take the lead.

The pitching staff has been solid, but when the team has needed a shut-down inning, it hasn’t delivered. There have also been mental lapses on defense and on the base paths.

The good news for the Rangers is that there are 17 games left to turn it around.

“We still have time, and we’ll know how far we have to dig ourselves out by Friday,” Nathan said. “We’re not going to stop. Right now, it’s about pulling ourselves out of this. We need to get back to simplifying the game and get back to fundamentals, and hopefully the day off will do exactly that.”

It won’t be easy to get back on track, though. The A’s come to town this weekend, and then the Rangers are on the road at a pair of wild-card contending teams in Tampa Bay and Kansas City.

The Rangers have the edge in the season series against the A’s, winning nine of 16 games. They also have winning records against Tampa Bay (2-1) and Kansas City (2-1).

But the A’s have played better than the Rangers of late, and have two of their best pitchers, Bartolo Colon and Jarrod Parker, pitching the final two games of the series. That’s not an ideal formula for a reeling offense.

“It’s never easy,” said Adrian Beltre, who is batting .205 in September after posting a .381 average in August.

“We’re not playing Little League here. It’s not going to be easy, but we believe we can do a better job than we’ve done the last 10 days or so. What better way to start than against Oakland?”

The Rangers will rival the A’s starters with their three best pitchers: Derek Holland on Fridayt, Yu Darvish on Saturday and Martin Perez on Sunday.

Holland is coming off two of his rougher outings, but feels he’s ready to move past “that bump in the road.” Darvish is fresh off his third 1-0 loss of the season, but was able to joke about being the first AL pitcher in 40 years to have something like that happen to him. And Perez is confident he can rebound after his string of six straight wins came to an end Tuesday.

“It is a big series, but we’ve just got to relax and play our game,” Holland said.

Said Darvish: “It’s an important series coming up, but every start I always take the same approach — do my best. It’s never good to think too much ahead.”

That includes reading too much into the standings. Everybody within the clubhouse is well aware of where the Rangers stand in relation to the A’s and also in the wild-card chase.

The division standings are checked upon most frequently, of course; winning a division title means more than earning a spot in the one-game wild-card round. But, for now, the focus is getting it back together on the field because, if not, there might not even be a postseason.

“We can’t even look at standings right now,” Nathan said. “If we’re focused on that, we’re focused on the wrong things. We’ve got to get back to playing sound baseball.”

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
Chicago «109Final | Box
Boston102
Golden State1044th Qtr 0:14 | Box
Charlotte99TV: CSN-BA, SPSO
New Orleans564th Qtr 8:54 | Box
Atlanta71TV: FSN-NO, SPSO
Milwaukee744th Qtr 12:00 | Box
Detroit69TV: FSN-WI, FSN-DET
Dallas603rd Qtr 5:48 | Box
Toronto52TV: FSN-SW, TSN2
LA Clippers563rd Qtr | Box
Houston44TV: NBA TV, FSN-PT, ROOT-SW
Orlando453rd Qtr | Box
Indiana47TV: FSN-FL, FSN-IN
New York333rd Qtr | Box
Oklahoma City59TV: MSG, FSN-OK
Sacramento352nd Qtr 6:11 | Box
San Antonio41TV: CSN-CA, FSN-SW
Phoenix51st Qtr 7:42 | Box
Denver10TV: FSN-AZ, Altitude
Memphis 11/28 10:00 PM ET
Portland TV: SPSO, CSN-NW
Minnesota 11/28 10:30 PM ET
LA Lakers TV: FSN-N, TWC SN
Full Scoreboard
Week 13Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Chicago17Final | Box
Detroit «34Gridiron Replay
Philadelphia «33Final | Box
Dallas10Gridiron Replay
Seattle «19Final | Box
San Francisco3Gridiron Replay
Sunday
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: FOX
NY Giants 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: FOX
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CBS
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CBS
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
New England 4:25 PM ET
Green Bay TV: CBS
Denver 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: NBC
Monday
Miami 8:30 PM ET
NY Jets TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Friday, November 28Full Scoreboard
NY Rangers «3Final | Box
Philadelphia0
Chicago «4Final | Box
Anaheim1
NY Islanders2Final | Box
Washington «5
Winnipeg13rd Prd 9:15 | Box
Boston1TV: TVA Sports 2, TSN3, NESN
Montreal13rd Prd 10:17 | Box
Buffalo1TV: RDS, MSG-BUF
Detroit33rd Prd 13:05 | Box
New Jersey4TV: FSN-DET, MSG+
Carolina33rd Prd 5:55 | Box
Pittsburgh2TV: NHLN, FSN-CAR, ROOT-PIT
Vancouver23rd Prd 9:20 | Box
Columbus0TV: SN-PAC, FSN-OH
Ottawa23rd Prd | Box
Florida1TV: RDS2, TSN5, FSN-FL
Edmonton12nd Prd 10:36 | Box
St. Louis1TV: SN-W, FSN-MW
Minnesota22nd Prd | Box
Dallas0TV: FSN-N+, FSN-SW+
Full Scoreboard