There is no need for a pep talk.
The Texas Rangers, manager Jeff Banister said, know exactly what the situation is and don’t need him to stand in the middle of the clubhouse and give a rousing lecture.
He dismissed the notion after the Rangers finished their 4-6 road trip with a 11-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox Wednesday night.
“I’m not real big on gathering guys up after we’ve had what we call a challenging stretch,” he said. “We communicate every day.”
Banister’s point was salient, especially for a club that still owns the best record in the American League.
“[If you need to hold a meeting] that means you haven’t been talking to them all year long,” he emphasized. “They’re well aware of what’s in front of us.”
The Rangers struggles the past 10 days are not so surprising, especially when you consider their grueling schedule (37 games in 38 days), which includes 20 games on the road. When you add the losses of three of their starting pitchers to injury (Yu Darvish, Colby Lewis and Derek Holland), it’s a minor miracle they went 12-8 on the road. Since a season-high seven-game win streak June 14-20, Texas has gone 7-8. They close the first half with a four-game series with the Twins beginning Thursday night at Globe Life Park.
Three thoughts from the Red Sox Series:
1. Pounded pitching — The Red Sox collected 42 hits, including 22 for extra-bases in the three-game series. Even Martin Perez, who hadn’t lost a game since May 18, was unable to tame the Red Sox. He was tagged for 11 runs (seven earned) on nine hits in a season-low four innings. The bullpen, however, has put together nine consecutive scoreless innings. Which brings us No. 2 of the Reaction ...
2. Leclerc’s debut — Right-handed rookie Jose Leclerc was impressive in his major league debut. He held Boston scoreless in 2 2/3 innings, holding them to one hit while striking out four. He even had to work out of a bases-loaded jam after a double and two walks. He calmly induced a groundout to strand the runners and then worked a perfect sixth and then recorded two outs in the seventh before Tony Barnette replaced him to face Dustin Pedroia. “I was a little nervous facing David Ortiz for the first time but I got control of my pitches,” said the 22-year-old. “I was trying to slow everything down by remembering when I was in Hickory or the Dominican when nobody was in the ballpark. It helped me settle down a little bit.”
Leclerc is the first Rangers pitcher to make his major league debut at Fenway Park since Nick Regilio on July 9, 2004.
3. About those errors — Banister was quick to dismiss the second-inning errors by Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. And he’s right. The chances of that happening again are slim. Although he’s made the play a million times before, Beltre’s error on a slow hopper from Travis Shaw was a tough throw even if he fielded it cleanly. Banister chalked Odor’s miscue on another slow bouncer an “error on effort ... trying to make a great play.” Andrus’ error came last and it was the most routine of the three. He hadn’t made an error since May 28. It’s only his seventh this season.
“They are uncharacteristic [errors] because they have been playing defense such ultra competitive and well this year,” Banister said. “I don’t know, maybe we’ll check everyone’s horoscope tonight.”