ARLINGTON — 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 couldnt let this performance pass without a heartfelt response.They booed. Noticeably. And the Rangers richly deserved it.The once-division-leading Rangers havent merely collapsed. Theyve 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 As 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 desires there. And theyre hurting.To sit here at home and hear our fans boo ... and I dont blame them. Its 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 havent homered in a week.You guys are watching the games, Daniels said. I dont see any one thing. Were just not playing well, period.Its 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.Im not thinking about any playoffs, Washington answered. Im 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 dont think I had very many choices, Washington said. I still believe in Murph.Oh, hes 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 dont think this is the time of the year to be evaluating individual guys or anything.Right now were just not getting it done. We need to turn it around.There is still time, Daniels assured more than once.Ill always bet on our guys, he said. He meant it as a figure of speech, Im 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.Its every squirrel for himself.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton