September 22, 2013

Rangers notes: Adrian Beltre part of September swoon

The third baseman hasn’t hit a home run this month.

Nothing is wrong physically with Adrian Beltre, or so he said Sunday, and the veteran of 16 major-league seasons said that he is too old to let the pressure of a postseason race get to him.

His forgettable September is the by-product of a slump, a poorly timed slump that he called “an adventure.” He entered Sunday hitting .253 this month, .133 with runners in scoring position, and has no homers and six RBIs.

Beltre, 34, batted .381 with five homers and 21 RBIs in August.

The Rangers are 5-15 in September after losing Sunday’s series finale at Kauffman Stadium on a walkoff grand slam in the 10th. Not all of that falls on Beltre, as much of the lineup has faltered down the stretch, and their MVP candidate hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet on 2013.

“I’m not getting hits like I was getting in August,” Beltre said. “The effort is there, the preparation is there, but I’m just not getting the same results.”

He has seen somewhat of a turnaround on the seven-game road trip. He is on a six-game hitting streak after going 2 for 4 with a double Sunday. He drove in a run Saturday while going 2 for 4 in the ballpark where he has the second-highest all-time batting average (.352.) by an opponent.

Beltre has tormented the Rangers’ next two opponents this season, too. He has a .381 average with five homers and 13 RBIs against Houston, and is batting .356 with four homers and 11 RBIs against Anaheim.

Out at home

The Rangers open their final homestand of the season Monday, with the first of three games against the Astros ahead of a four-game series against the Angels.

That sounds like a good thing for a team fighting for the postseason, but the Rangers haven’t won at home this month. They will enter Monday with a seven-game losing streak at Rangers Ballpark, where they are only 39-35.

“I can’t put my finger on it,” manager Ron Washington said. “I guess the past few years we’ve been spoiled. But that doesn’t mean in the seven games we have left we can’t get it back. We have to.”

The Rangers are 14-2 this season against Houston, which already has more than 100 losses, and 11-4 against the Angels, who entered Sunday with the best record in baseball since (21-7) since Aug. 23.

Washington won’t take the Astros for granted.

“You can’t just throw your gloves out there and beat them,” Washington said. “You have to go play.”

Gentry again

The Rangers’ lineup against the Royals didn’t change from their 3-1 victory Saturday, and continuity has been a rarity as Ron Washington looks for a combination that might click.

Craig Gentry started for the second straight game after going 7 for 10 in his first two starts on the road trip. He had three hits Saturday and stole a base to match his career-high of 18.

“This is the case of riding the hot hand,” Washington said.

Gentry wasn’t putting too much into his mini-hot streak, which comes after a career-worst 1-for-16 skid.

“It’s only two games, so I’ll try to keep it going,” he said. “Whatever I can to do help the team win. All it comes down to right now is wins.”


• Joe Nathan became only the fourth reliever in big-league history to register a 40-save season at 38 years old or older. He joined Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman and Jose Mesa.
• The Rangers have had suspended outfielder Nelson Cruz working defensively in right field and left field as they consider how to use him for a possible playoff berth. Cruz played left field some in the 2010 postseason, and he has indicated that he is comfortable there. He could also be used at designated hitter.

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