Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: Loss to Royals filled with missed opportunities

Rangers starter Cole Hamels struggled early Sunday against the Royals, giving up five runs in the first three innings.
Rangers starter Cole Hamels struggled early Sunday against the Royals, giving up five runs in the first three innings. AP

The Rangers missed a golden opportunity to claim their second series win of the week.

Entering Sunday, the Royals had the second-worst record in the American League. Texas had also claimed two out of the past three games against Kansas City in this series at Globe Life Park.

Momentum seemed to be on the side of the home team, too, after outfielder Shin-Soo Choo smacked a 10-inning walk-off home run to left-center field that gave the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Royals on Saturday afternoon.

On paper, Cole Hamels provided an advantage over his counterpart on the mound, Jason Hammel, when the two teams met on Sunday.

A win would have given the Rangers their fourth in five games, and fifth victory in the past seven days.

Instead, Hamels struggled early and the offense couldn't get timely production as the Rangers fell 5-3.

As a result, manager Jeff Banister and his players were left with that frustration that comes with splitting a four-game series.

As you enjoy the respite of this Memorial Day weekend, here are a few brief thoughts on the Rangers' loss.

1. Inconsistent situational hitting

Unlike most of this past week, the offense could not find the same sort of spark.

In some instances, bad luck kept the Rangers' bats from picking up their starting pitcher. During the second inning, with a runner on second, red-hot rookie Ronald Guzman smashed a pitch that landed just outside the foul pole in right field (he flied out on the next pitch).

In other cases, though, they failed to take advantage of runners in scoring position. With runners on first and third and two outs, Jurickson Profar grounded into a fielder's choice. Profar later faced the exact same situation, only to ground into an inning-ending double play.

In the bottom of the eighth, Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor came up with runners on first and third, but Kansas City reliever Eric Stout retired both players to end the comeback bid.

Texas Rangers ace Cole Hamels said Tuesday that it’s too early to think about being traded at this year’s deadline. He beat the New York Yankees, a potential suitor.

2. Hamels struggles early

Right from the start, it was apparent Cole Hamels didn't have close to his best stuff. After 17 pitches, the lefty finally got out of the first inning, but not before the Royals claimed three hits and two runs (both earned).

To give up those numbers to the top of the order is one thing. To give up a home run to Drew Butera, the No. 9 hitter in the order, is more alarming. Coming into this game, the utility player only had 25 at-bats on the season and had hit just one home run. Yet, the right-handed hitter still managed to take Hamels deep to right field in the second inning.

By the end of the third, Hamels had surrendered six hits and five earned runs, including a two-run bomb by designated hitter Salvador Perez that proved to be the difference in the game.

Shin-Soo Choo's walk-off homer on Saturday was the 176th of his career, the most ever by an Asian-born player.

3. Choo finding consistency

Choo's game-winning shot on Saturday was the 35-year-old's 176th career homer, the most ever in the majors by an Asian-born player.

In the four-game series against the Royals, Choo hit two home runs, drew six walks, and picked up at least one hit in every game.

Choo has been on base in 13 consecutive games and has 14 walks in the past nine.

Rangers rookie Ronald Guzman has hit a home run in his past four starts.

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