The worst Texas Rangers team shortstop Elvis Andrus had played for before this season was the 2009 club that finished 87-75 and was a playoff contender as late as mid-September.
The Rangers could hit the 75-loss mark next week, and they should consider themselves fortunate to finish with 67 victories. They know that each game will be a chore to win.
But Andrus and third baseman Adrian Beltre are finding a way to go out and perform each game during what could be the Rangers’ first 100-loss season since their second season 1973.
It hasn’t been easy, but it’s their job to play and to lead by example.
“We have a lot of young guys in their first time in the majors, and I know they look up to me,” Beltre said. “I have to stay positive and let them know that even though we haven’t played well the last seven weeks, we can still play better and finish on a high note.”
Part of the motivation for Andrus is to get better. General manager Jon Daniels has mentioned Andrus as one of the players who needs to get better the rest of the season.
He entered Tuesday with an 11-game hitting streak during which he had batted .372 to lift his average to .271. He was the team leader with 25 doubles, and believes, in part because of his 2013 second-half surge, that his best baseball is ahead of him.
“Being used to being fighting for first place, it is a little tougher, but it’s our job,” Andrus said. “I want to end up having a good year. I had a slow first half. For me to have an all-round second half, that’s good motivation besides winning games and not having that 100-loss season.”
Manager Ron Washington has seen Beltre take the lead in leading the young players, with Andrus taking cues from Beltre. One thing Washington hasn’t seen is quit from any of his players.
“I don’t see any difference in the way they go about their business,” Washington said. “When it’s all over, believe me, you learn a lot more with what we’re going through than you learn than if you were successful.”