Maybe the Texas Rangers have been too close to Six Flags for too long.
Because the best roller coaster in Arlington is now running at Globe Life Park.
Get used to it, Rangers fans.
Expect the season to remain on a similar track with ups and downs, peaks and valleys from one day, one game, to the next.
There will be good days followed by bad days, such was the case Wednesday afternoon. The Los Angeles Angels dismissed the Rangers 10-2 in front of another small crowd. The announced paid attendance was 25,757 but half that number was actually in the park.
The offense for the Rangers (4-6), who won 8-2 on Tuesday, has been feast or famine. The pitching has been outstanding one day and insufferable the next. In their six losses, the Rangers have been outscored 45-10. In their four wins they’ve outscored opponents 27-6.
Jekyll and Hyde?
Or is it just part of the growing pains associated with a new manager Jeff Banister instilling new approaches and a lot of new faces trying desperately to implement those approaches?
Establishing his approach to hitting, Banister has said, could take awhile. He wants longer at-bats. He wants hitters to see more pitches. He wants them to be stubborn at the plate, to wait for their pitch, in their zone.
“I said [in spring training] there would be some inconsistencies,” Banister said after his team finished a 2-4 homestand. The Rangers are off Thursday before opening a three-game series against the Mariners in Seattle on Friday.
Banister said he knew the situation “if you ask hitters to do different things.”
“Part of this is a work in progress, it’s going to be a work in progress. These guys are still grinding it and working on it, and the opposing pitcher has a little bit to say about that also.”
Angels left-hander Hector Santiago (1-1) held the Rangers to one run on four hits over seven innings. The lone Rangers run came in the fifth on Carlos Corporan’s first homer of the season. By then the Rangers already trailed 7-1.
“I think we’re playing hard baseball, we’re just not getting the results we want,” said Prince Fielder, who is batting .400, the only Rangers full-time player hitting over .259. “Hopefully, this road trip we’ll make that happen. Have an off day and start over.”
Although it’s still early, Banister has used 10 different lineups in 10 games. He’s hoping to allow hitters to find their rhythm while mixing up the order as he did again Wednesday, with Delino DeShields getting his first career start and leading off.
“We talk about hitters finding rhythm, controlling the strike zone, one pitch, one zone, that mentality,” Banister said. “And being stubborn, stubborn with the approach. We saw it trend up. [Wednesday’s game] is not indicative of the approach we will have throughout the year.”
In their four wins the Rangers are hitting .290. In their six losses they’re hitting .156.
“I think that’s something we’ll have to go through. It’s a new team with some new faces and we’re still figuring out what we’re good at, and what we need to work at,” said Mitch Moreland who singled as a pinch hitter in the eighth. He’s batting .259. “Overall, the effort level has been there every game, whether we’re down a few runs or up. We’ve gone out and grinded out our at-bats and tried to play hard. That’s all you can ask for.”
Anthony Ranaudo, who came up from Triple A Round Rock to make the spot start, struggled with his fastball command and the Angels torched him for six runs on five hits in the second.
He wasn’t helped by his defense on two plays, one in which center fielder Leonys Martin dove for a ball in the gap instead of playing it on a hop to prevent a double, and a ground ball that shortstop Elvis Andrus let skip under his glove. Neither was called an error but both plays could have been made.
Ranaud was replaced with two outs in the second.
Banister predicted, as he reminded the media after Wednesday’s game, that there would probably be growing pains. But he sees reason for hope.
“We show up and string ABs together and quality at-bats and then there are times when we have gaps,” he said. “I feel we’re trending in the right direction with the mindset. We have to get the mindset and the physical side of it to push through and match up. I feel comfortable that our coaches are working with them and moving them in that direction.”
Until then, fasten your harness.