Look at it this way, the All-Star break is less than 24 hours away. The suffering you’ve felt the past week as a Rangers fan gets a reprieve for a few days. Saturday’s 8-6 loss went about the same way as most of the games have gone for the Rangers over the past two weeks. Woefully short starting pitching with a mostly adequate bullpen and an offense that never quite found the big punch at the plate. The Rangers conclude one of their two best ever first halves at 2 p.m. Sunday.
1. Kyle Lohse — The veteran right-hander did about what you’d expect in his first start in the majors since Aug. 2, 2015. He was charged with six earned runs on nine hits and two walks and left trailing 6-3 after five innings. Did you hear that Lohse is the first Rangers’ starter to go at least five innings in the past eight games? Oh, you did? Good. He’s likely to be sent back to Triple A Round Rock as soon as Yu Darvish is activated. That could come as soon as next week’s series against the Cubs in Chicago. Lohse said after the game that he felt tightness on the right side of his torso against the second batter of the game.
“I’ve never had anything like that. I just felt a little something in my side and talked to them and told them I’d just keep taking the ball,” he said. “I’m not going to put the bullpen out there for nine innings and make them go through that ... I’m not going to sit here and make excuses. I took the ball and kept battling out there with what I had. I just didn’t have my best stuff.”
2. Ian Freakin’ Desmond — Desmond continues to be a bright spot even during this rough two weeks. He collected his 37th multi-hit game, second-most in the American League. He had three hits Saturday, including a ninth-inning double. He has 10 three-hit games and one four-hit game this season. In 2015, Desmond finished with 34 multi-hit games, including eight with three hits. You don’t need to be reminded that there’s still a game left before the All-Star break, right? It’s no wonder Desmond earned a spot on the A.L. team. He was asked after Saturday’s loss about the team’s recent struggles.
“Adversity and those hard times build me into the man I man and I think it’s going to be the same for our team,” Desmond said. “We’re going to get stronger from this. We’re going to use it and take advantage of it. Any time you go through a rough patch it kind of checks what you’ve got inside.”
3. A-OK for A.J. — Right-hander A.J. Griffin starts Sunday’s first-half finale. The past eight days have not been fun for the Rangers rotation. Griffin knows this. But he also knows that despite the Rangers losing three of the past four and six of the past seven, his team will finish the first half no less than 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Astros. That breathing room counts for something.
“It’s huge. We have a tenacious group here. We play all 27 outs,” he said. “It hasn’t been going our way lately but I have a good feeling things are going to turn around and we’re going to get on a roll and do what we know how to do.”