Texas Rangers

Rangers can’t sweep Astros, but winning series part of playoff formula

Banister: No sweep for Rangers, but series win is key

The Texas Rangers narrowly missed a three-game sweep of Houston on Sunday, but they won the series and believe that formula can give them a chance at the postseason (video by Jeff Wilson).
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The Texas Rangers narrowly missed a three-game sweep of Houston on Sunday, but they won the series and believe that formula can give them a chance at the postseason (video by Jeff Wilson).

Needing a pick-me-up with their club still in the postseason mix, the Texas Rangers needed what they did over the weekend and need to do it repeatedly moving forward.

The Rangers won a series, winning the first two games against the Houston Astros before dropping the Sunday finale 2-1.

Series wins are the formula teams use to piece together winning seasons. It’s simple, really, and it allows for some margin of error as series sweeps are difficult to come by.

But winning 2 of 3 or 3 of 4 doesn’t seem as daunting a task, while accomplishing the main task of winning ballgames.

So, the loss at Globe Life Park wasn’t the end of the world and doesn’t signal that the end is near. Despite owning a 56-60 record, the Rangers are only 3  1/2 games back in the wild-card standings and don’t really care how many teams they must pass.

For the record, it’s six to claim the last-gasp entry to the postseason.

“That’s the name of this game,” right-hander Andrew Cashner said. “It’s such a long season that if you can win series, you usually come out on top at the end.”

Cashner allowed both runs in seven innings, while former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel was just a tick better on a steamy day at Globe Life Park.

We have a legitimate shot, but we can’t talk about the teams in front of us.

Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre

The Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox are coming to town next, and the Rangers must do to them what they couldn’t do to the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners on the last homestand — win more than they lost.

The wild-card standings are a potential scheduling disaster for MLB, and the Rangers are part of the disaster scenario. The issue is the number of teams the Rangers must pass.

It’s definitely possible, and the Rangers believe it.

“We have a legitimate shot, but we can’t talk about the teams in front of us,” said Adrian Beltre, who homered in the sixth for the Rangers’ lone run. “We need to take care of business in this clubhouse and whatever happens in the end, happens.”

The Rangers suffered a letdown after Yu Darvish was traded. The deal had an effect, as many players thought the front office had quit on them while conveniently forgetting that they hadn’t given the front office a lot to go on the first four months.

Rangers starting pitcher Andrew Cashner took the loss Sunday despite holding the Astros to two runs over seven innings.

Beltre said that the Rangers talked it out. The message was that the roster still had enough talent to reach the postseason, even after the trades of Darvish, catcher Jonathan Lucroy and reliever Jeremy Jeffress.

“I think we were a little disappointed trading one of the best pitchers in the last five years,” he said. “It was a little gloomy, but we had a little talk. Even though we traded Lucroy and J.J. and Darvish, we still have a team that can compete. We have to do our jobs but we still believe.

“We don’t have our ace, but we have to play with more emotion and play better. We still have a long ways to go, but we still have the mentality of winning. In this clubhouse, we are still grinding and believe we can get back in this.”

Beltre remembers that the 2015 Rangers went to the playoffs without Darvish, Lucroy and Jeffress. Many of the players on that roster are on the team now, especially key players such as Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo and Cole Hamels.

The goal the rest of the season is to just win series. The Rangers did that over the weekend, despite falling short of a three-game sweep of Houston, and must continue to do it to reach the playoffs.

It’s possible, and the Rangers believe it.

“I know we need to win baseball games, stack them together, win series,” said manager Jeff Banister, who was ejected in the fifth inning. “That’s the motivation. That’s the direction, but it’s about winning game by game.”

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is thanking Rangers teammates and staff with various gifts, including $229 bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister claimed innocence Sunday after first-base ump Tripp Gibson ejected him (video by Jeff Wilson).

Jeff Wilson: 817-390-7760, @JeffWilson_FWST

Houston

000

100

100

2

6

1

Texas

000

001

000

1

7

0

Houston AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Reddick rf

4

0

0

0

0

0

.294

Altuve 2b

4

1

2

1

0

0

.362

Bregman 3b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.273

Gurriel 1b

4

1

1

0

0

0

.293

Gonzalez ss

3

0

0

0

0

0

.314

Beltran dh

3

0

1

1

1

0

.244

Fisher lf

3

0

0

0

1

1

.247

McCann c

3

0

1

0

0

0

.232

Marisnick cf

3

0

1

0

0

1

.242

Totals 31

2

6

2

2

4

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields lf

5

0

2

0

0

2

.275

Andrus ss

3

0

0

0

1

0

.295

Mazara rf

3

0

1

0

1

1

.249

Beltre dh

3

1

2

1

1

0

.311

Robinson pr-dh

0

0

0

0

0

0

.182

Gomez cf

3

0

0

0

0

1

.251

Gallo 3b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.206

Napoli 1b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.197

Odor 2b

4

0

2

0

0

1

.214

Chirinos c

1

0

0

0

2

1

.216

Choo ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

.254

Totals 31

1

7

1

5

9

E—McCann (5). LOB—Houston 5, Texas 9. 2B—Gurriel (31), Odor (14). HR—Altuve (18), off Cashner; Beltre (12), off Keuchel. RBIs—Altuve (65), Beltran (46), Beltre (48). SB—DeShields (20). S—Gomez. Runners left in scoring position—Houston 2 (Bregman, Marisnick); Texas 5 (Andrus 2, Mazara 2, Gallo). RISP—Houston 1 for 5; Texas 0 for 7. Runners moved up—Gonzalez. LIDP—Fisher, Gallo. GIDP—Marisnick. DP—Houston 1 (Gurriel, Gonzalez); Texas 2 (Andrus, Odor, Napoli), (Odor, DeShields).

Houston

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Keuchel, W, 10-2

6 2/3

6

1

1

3

7

97

2.77

Devenski, H, 18

 1/3

0

0

0

2

0

19

2.74

Giles, S, 23-26

2

1

0

0

0

2

22

2.86

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Cashner, L, 7-9

7

6

2

2

1

4

90

3.32

Barnette

1

0

0

0

0

0

13

5.26

Leclerc

1

0

0

0

1

0

23

3.50

Devenski pitched to 2 batters in the 8th. Inherited runners-scored—Devenski 1-0, Giles 2-0. HBP—Cashner (Gonzalez). Umpires—Home, Stu Scheurwater; First, Tripp Gibson; Second, Bill Welke; Third, Lance Barksdale. T—3:04. A—31,517 (48,114).

Rangers vs. Tigers

7:05 p.m. Monday, FSSW

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