Texas Rangers

Banister: Keep homers coming, but Rangers need to diversify

Elvis Andrus, left, manager Jeff Banister and designated hitter Robinson Chirinos, right, greet Carlos Gomez in the dugout after a home run during a game in June. The Rangers have 135 home runs, third-most in the majors at the All-Star break.
Elvis Andrus, left, manager Jeff Banister and designated hitter Robinson Chirinos, right, greet Carlos Gomez in the dugout after a home run during a game in June. The Rangers have 135 home runs, third-most in the majors at the All-Star break. pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister wants his team to continue to hit home runs.

At the same time, however, he’d like to see the offense improve at manufacturing runs.

It’s something the Rangers have done relatively well during Banister’s first two seasons but have struggled for much of 2017. The trend, Banister hopes, is headed back to a more balanced offense capable of going deep while also using sacrifices, stolen bases and a string of singles to score runs.

“We’ve been inconsistent in that department this year. We can get back to that,” he said. “A balanced attack is always your best attack but I’m never going to argue with a ball going out of the park on our side. There’s no defense for a homer.”

The Rangers this season have scored 218 of 444 runs (49.1 percent) on 135 homers. Only the Astros (143) and Brewers (136) have hit more homers than the Rangers through Saturday’s game. Only the Blue Jays (52.8 percent) and Athletics (50 percent) rely more on homers for their runs.

The Rangers are eighth in the majors in runs scored but are in the league’s lower third with runners in scoring position (.246 batting average) and rank even lower with overall runners on base (24th at .248).

“We can keep the [49.1 percent] and just add to the other side,” Banister said.

Since a series in Cleveland two weeks ago, Banister says the offense has been more patient at the plate, including Rougned Odor, who took a 10-game hit streak into Sunday’s game.

“Since the Cleveland series, the way our guys have made pitchers work — the volume of pitches these guys have seen — will prove out when we look back at it as one of the things that helped jump-start this offense,” he said.

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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