Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington cautioned that his spirited team meeting late Thursday night didn’t guarantee a quick fix for what currently ails his team.
He knows the problems, starting with an unprecedented rash of injuries, have hamstrung his roster like no other team in baseball.
But Washington was confident that the meeting would, if nothing else, lead to some better baseball being played at Globe Life Park.
And it was on Friday night in front of 38,402, even if the Los Angeles Angels’ 3-0 shutout extended the Rangers’ losing streak to six.
Texas (38-55), which has lost 12 of its last 13, is now 17 games under .500, the club’s worst showing since June 20, 2007.
“We were more engaged,” said Washington, whose team was shut out for the fifth time. “We finally got a well-pitched job. We just couldn’t support what was going on offensively. [Nick] Tepesch pitched well; [Garrett] Richards pitched better. I was pleased with how we went out there and played tonight.”
Tepesch gave the Rangers their best start in a week but left in the seventh after three consecutive singles knocked him from the game, trailing 2-0. It was a solid start, especially in comparison to the recent run of bad nights for Rangers’ starters.
Tepesch (3-5), who was charged with three runs on six hits, collected the team’s first quality start since Colby Lewis allowed two earned runs in six innings on July 5. It’s his fifth quality start of the year, second on the club to Darvish (11). It was the fifth game in 2014 when the Rangers’ bats offered no runs behind a quality start and the second with Tepesch on the mound.
“It was a lot better for sure,” Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said of the team’s post-meeting play. “Nick did a tremendous job keeping us in the game. Offensively, we couldn’t execute. We didn’t get the base hit [we needed]. It would have been a whole different game. [It’s] a good start that we need to carry on.”
Much of the offensive struggles were due in a large part to another excellent start from the Angels’ Richards (11-2). He kept the Rangers from taking advantage of multiple base runners.
Texas had runners on in the first six innings, including a runner at second base in five of his first six innings. Twice the Rangers had a runner at third but couldn’t get him home. In the third, Carlos Pena was at third base after a steal and throwing error but was stranded when Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor struck out.
Richards allowed five hits and struck out eight, including Leonys Martin for the third out in the eighth to strand Alex Rios at second.
“It’s tough when you have to face a guy like Richards who has tremendous stuff,” Washington said. “When you can get two-out hits, you put yourself in a good position to be successful. We just couldn’t do it tonight. We had six chances to put a run on the board. They shut us down, but we did pitch better, played a much crisper game. We just got beat.”
Mike Trout’s solo homer in the fourth, his 22nd this year, gave the Angels a 1-0 lead. It was the only big mistake Tepesch made.
“He tried to go way in on Trout, and it just rode back over the plate and he got it,” Washington said. “Other than that, I thought he executed his pitches well.”
Tepesch, who allowed six earned runs in six innings in his last start on July 6, was pointing no fingers at the offense.
“Those guys are working just as hard as I am,” he said. “There are days I’m going to give up a lot of runs and they’re going to pick me up. That’s how it goes. [Richards] had a great game; he’s had a great year.”
Rangers outfielder Alex Rios had no interest in discussing the effects of Thursday’s meeting.
“I’m not talking anymore about losing,” he said. “It’s getting old.”