Rangers get booed, and they richly earned it

Posted Sunday, Sep. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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lebreton The ninth inning Sunday — a meek, defeated 1-2-3 of an inning — was a lot like many of the Texas Rangers’ innings over the past two weeks.

This time, however, the paying customers couldn’t let this performance pass without a heartfelt response.

They booed. Noticeably. And the Rangers richly deserved it.

The once-division-leading Rangers haven’t merely collapsed. They’ve all but vanished into a sink hole.

The 5-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday drove the final nail on a winless six-game homestand in which the Rangers never led and never hit a home run.

They have lost six straight, nine of 10 and 11 of their last 13 games. They left 10 men on base Sunday and were a hapless 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

More to the point, the A’s have surged past the Rangers and now have a seemingly insurmountable 61/2-game AL West lead.

Boo? The Rangers had it coming.

“I just know these guys are putting their work in,” general manager Jon Daniels said after the loss. “The intensity is there. The desire’s there. And they’re hurting.

“To sit here at home and hear our fans boo ... and I don’t blame them. It’s been some ugly baseball.

“I can tell you that these guys are hurting just as much and they want to get it done.”

For the second extended time this season, the Rangers’ lineup has stopped hitting en masse.

Second baseman Ian Kinsler went 0 for 5 Sunday and is batting .211 (12 for 57) for the month of September. First baseman Mitch Moreland is 0 for his last 21. Center fielder Leonys Martin was 2 for 19 during the homestand.

The Rangers also haven’t homered in a week.

“You guys are watching the games,” Daniels said. “I don’t see any one thing. We’re just not playing well, period.”

It’s the hitting. Or the pitching. Or, sometimes, both the hitting and pitching.

The prolonged slump prompted manager Ron Washington to channel his inner Jim Mora before the game when he was asked about the playoffs.

“I’m not thinking about any playoffs,” Washington answered. “I’m not thinking about anything.

“I just want to win a ball game. Can you HELP me?!”

Washington made his plea like a country preacher. A few prayers actually may be in order.

After the game, Washington was questioned about his decision to send the slumping David Murphy (6 for his last 34) up to pinch-hit.

“I don’t think I had very many choices,” Washington said. “I still believe in Murph.

“Oh, he’s struggling now. But even a squirrel can find a nut when he comes out of the tree every now and then.”

Alas, as a metaphor for the Rangers’ September, that squirrel may have to do.

Now is not the time, though, Daniels said, to make lasting evaluations.

“At the end you want to look back at the whole picture,” he said. “I don’t think this is the time of the year to be evaluating individual guys or anything.

“Right now we’re just not getting it done. We need to turn it around.”

There is still time, Daniels assured — more than once.

“I’ll always bet on our guys,” he said.

He meant it as a figure of speech, I’m guessing. Actual wagering on this Rangers team is highly discouraged.

A playoffs-or-bust road trip to Tampa Bay and Kansas City begins Monday night.

The wild-card race has become perilously tight.

For the slumping, sink hole-vanishing Rangers, 14 games remain in the regular season.

It’s every squirrel for himself.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton

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