Don’t even suggest to manager Jeff Banister that his Texas Rangers might be playing with less than a full serving of energy.
Suggesting that LaMarque High football is overrated is a lesser offense.
The writer who asked, this guy, thought he had seen some listlessness the past couple games. Banister conceded that it’s hard to have a lot of pep in games like the one Tuesday, when the Rangers threw 191 pitches.
But of all that has gone wrong for the Rangers, he said that a lack of energy is not one of them.
The main culprit was on display again Wednesday, but so were a couple others.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 10-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Beltre doesn’t want general manager Jon Daniels to sell off key pieces as the trade deadline nears, but to do so the Rangers have to play far better than they have in the second half.
Beltre never raised his voice or called out anyone other than himself.
He believes the Rangers are contenders, which technically they are, and doesn’t want to see a chance at the postseason scuttled by Daniels.
“I do not want to see this team dismantled, that’s for sure,” Beltre said. “That’s not what we’re here looking forward to. I hope he understands that and I hope that he believes in this team or he can get us some help.”
Veteran players keep their eyes on the prize and are willing to sacrifice prospects and ownership’s money in the off-season to plug in holes. That’s not just Beltre. That’s pretty much all veterans who believe their team is playoff-caliber.
And there’s this: The clock is ticking on Beltre’s pursuit of a world title. He would trade 3,000 hits for one championship ring, but at age 38 and with only one year left on his Rangers contract, his window is closing.
So, yeah, he’s going to lobby for the GM to stand pat and add pieces. But in leaning on Daniels, Beltre also leaned on his teammates. He said that everyone, including himself, needs to understand that the time is now to get rolling.
“There’s no doubt that we have the players to do that,” Beltre said. “We need to do better. I need to do better. I need to start producing better, and there are a lot of guys that need to do that, too. As a team we need to do that. We have some guys that have a lot of talent, but we haven’t showed what we can do that yet.”
Apparently, his teammates didn’t hear the stump speech.
2. To be fair to Matt Bush, he wasn’t 100 percent, no-doubt-about-it terrible in the seven-run seventh inning. Maybe more like 60-80 percent.
The four-pitch walk he issued to No. 8 hitter Joey Rickard was unacceptable and changed the course of the inning, but he made a pitch to Ruben Tejada that should have cut down a run. Robinson Chirinos dropped the throw home, though.
Bush thought he had retired Adam Jones, the next batter, only to see the ball sail just over Shin-Soo Choo for a long single. Manny Machado broke his bat a few pitches later, but the blooper fell for an RBI hit.
Later, Trey Mancini delivered what at first glance appeared to be a carbon copy of the Jones single, except this one took a funky hop away from Choo and turned into a bases-clearing triple with two outs.
It was 10-1, with Bush tagged for five of the runs as his fastball command failed him. Four of the runs, one to Martin Perez and three to Bush, were unearned.
Banister wasn’t generous in his evaluation of Bush, and was completely correct in saying that a pitcher still has to make pitches after a defensive lapse. Bush didn’t make enough of them.
The lack of relief/defense kept Perez from a quality start. He allowed five runs (four earned) in six-plus innings and left at only 84 pitches. Though he has allowed more fly balls this season, his ability to induce double-play grounders might have been an asset there.
However, nothing — from the bats to the gloves to the decisions — seems to be working for the Rangers now.
3. Banister wasn’t at all upset with the way Perez pitched, and neither was Perez.
It was only 3-1 after six, and he had retired seven straight batters. An infield hit allowed the leadoff man in the seventh to reach, and then a rocket through the middle brought Banister out of the dugout and Bush in from the bullpen even though Perez was still feeling strong.
He had given the Rangers a chance to that point, while the offense continued to drag the team down.
The numbers, hashed out in some detail Tuesday, aren’t any better. The offense’s collapse is coming against an Orioles rotation that ranks as the worst in the American League, but so far the Rangers have three runs in 18 innings against Chris Tillman, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.
All Gausman allowed in six innings Wednesday was three hits, one of which was Joey Gallo’s 22nd home run.
The Rangers’ No. 1 problem is an inability to put multiple runners on base in the same inning. They finally did it in the ninth, and lo and behold they scored a run.
Orioles pitchers haven’t been under much duress this series, with the possible exception of Monday night.
Rangers hitters, meanwhile, have been with Tillman, Bundy and Gausman making pitches. They are in the major leagues for a reason, even with their soaring ERAs, and are showing why against the Rangers.
The timing couldn’t be any worse.
Beltre might want to make another campaign speech.