The offense can’t score, Colby Lewis has lost three straight decisions, and it’s September.
Oh, great. What wonderful timing.
Though that might be the line of the thinking in certain parts of the Texas Rangers’ fan base and certainly is on Twitter, the players and coaches who wear Texas across their chest don’t seem to be quite as concerned.
They might not be happy, but the sky isn’t crashing down on them.
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The Rangers’ latest slip came Sunday, when Lewis allowed six earned runs in five-plus innings and the offense managed only two hits in a 7-0 loss that handed the Los Angeles Angels the three-game series.
“It was crap,” Lewis said. “I didn’t do my job. It was junk.”
The loss left the Rangers 3-3 with four games to go on their season-long 10-game road trip. They are 3-2 this month and continue to be in the playoff mix.
We just need to get that hit. It’s one of those things I feel that if we do get it, it’ll just fall into place from there. It just hasn’t happened the last couple days.
But the Rangers have scored two runs in the past two games and have been shut out twice in their past six. They are 3 for 44 with runners in scoring position on the road trip.
Lewis has allowed 18 runs (16 earned) in his past three starts. He was making his 28th start and hit 175 innings, a workload that could be a concern for a 36-year-old pitcher with a history or arm problems and a fake hip.
16 Earned runs Colby Lewis has given up in his past three starts
Also, recent history shows that September is a month in which the Rangers have struggled with a playoff berth on the line.
Whatever, the Rangers essentially said as they headed toward their charter flight to Seattle.
“It’s one of those things that people are out to get us,” catcher Chris Gimenez said. “Just because we’re maybe the feel-good story because nobody expected us to be in the position we are now, nobody’s going to let us just walk into the playoffs.
“It’s up to us to get back and go up to settle and get back to our winning ways.”
Gimenez was involved in a key play early for the offense. Runners were at second and third with one out in the second when he sent a low liner back to the mound.
TCU alumnus and Angels second baseman Taylor Featherston went 3 for 4, the first multi-hit game of his career.
But it found the glove of Angels starter Hector Santiago, who quickly threw to second base to double off Rougned Odor. The Angels followed with a three-run inning against Lewis to build a 4-0 lead.
“It was a struggle for us after that,” manager Jeff Banister said.
Lewis wasn’t in much of a mood to discuss what when wrong. He said that it boiled down to not being able to make a quality pitch when he needed one, and the quality pitches he did throw turning into hits.
The bottom three in the Angels’ lineup went 7 for 8 against Lewis with four runs, two RBIs and a walk. That included a 3-for-4 game for former TCU star Taylor Featherston, the first multi-hit game of his career.
“I’d throw a good pitch, and then throw one non-competitive,” Lewis said. “I didn’t make the right pitches when I needed to.”
Banister said that he hasn’t seen any signs of fatigue from Lewis. The velocity hasn’t dipped. Lewis himself said that he felt fine physically.
The start was just, “not Colby-like, really,” Banister said.
The offense’s woes aren’t anything new. The Rangers have had their issues with runners in scoring position on a few occasions this season, just like the other 29 teams, except possibly for Toronto.
The Rangers had only one hit against Santiago, but they drew six walks. As long as they continue to get people on base, they’re confident that the runs will follow.
“We just need to get that hit,” Gimenez said. “It’s one of those things I feel that if we do get it, it’ll just fall into place from there. It just hasn’t happened the last couple days.”
Though losers of two of the three weekend games and with all the blemishes they currently have, the Rangers’ place in the playoff picture hasn’t been drastically altered.
The loss dropped the Rangers three games behind Houston in the American League West, but their advantage for the second wild card held at 1 1/2 games over Minnesota. The Angels are 2 1/2 games behind the Rangers.
“We’ve been here before,” Banister said. “I feel comfortable and confident with this offense. For every time we don’t, it just means we’re closer to doing. They’ll come.”