Texas Rangers

Have the Rangers hit rock bottom after a second straight lopsided loss to the A’s?

The thing that drives me most crazy about the Pacific Time Zone is the start times for college and NFL football games.

Take, for instance, the Michigan-Wisconsin game, which started here at 9 a.m. Saturday. The TCU-SMU game started at a very inconvenient 12:30 p.m., right during lunch and too early to go to the ballpark.

Thank goodness for streaming.

NFL games Sunday will start at 10 a.m., right during the media’s time in the clubhouse. The good news is that games will be on the two TVs in the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse, and the players will be fighting it out with their fantasy teams.

That’s all they have left at this point.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 12-3 beatdown.

Rangers in free fall

The past two games might not be rock bottom for the Rangers this season, even though they have both been blowouts resulting in a seven-game losing streak.

They haven’t pitched particularly well, even with their best pitcher on the mound. Mike Minor was knocked around Friday for six runs in five innings, and rookie Brock Burke allowed seven runs Saturday while failing to make it out of the first inning.

The offense has been non-existent, save for solo homers Saturday from Elvis Andrus, Danny Santana and Nick Solak.

Not even Lance Lynn pitching Sunday in the series finale makes it feel like the Rangers have a chance.

They have the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees waiting for them in the season-ending homestand. That won’t be easy.

It’s been hard to watch the Rangers the past two games as they limp to the finish line.

The end can’t get here soon enough, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Last word on Andrus ... for now

Despite the talk about Andrus possibly facing some competition at shortstop next spring and about how his big contract won’t stand in the way of someone else taking his job, there is no question that Andrus will be the Rangers’ starting shortstop.

None.

Yes, he absolutely needs to be better, but who on the team doesn’t?

The Rangers have no shortstop in the minors on the verge of taking Andrus’ job, and there will not be a free agent in the Rangers’ price range who would be a massive upgrade.

Besides, Andrus is aware that he needs to be better. He said so Wednesday at Houston, and said Saturday that he’s desire to improve will drive him more than another player would.

Andrus won’t fuss if the Rangers go that route, but he’s not sweating it.

Rougned Odor, on the other hand, might have a little more to sweat. Solak appears to be on the cusp of being an MLB regular, and Santana will be on the roster, too.

Still, the smart money would be on Odor being in the Opening Day lineup, no matter how silly that might seem.

A’s exposing big need

This was clear before the Rangers arrived in Oakland, and it’s not just the A’s who have exposed the Rangers’ need for more right-handers in the rotation for 2020.

But the Rangers started two lefties to open the series, Minor and Burke. The A’s, heavy with right-handed hitters, scored 13 runs against them.

The Houston Astros also have righty-heavy lineup, though lefty rookie Kolby Allard pitched well against them Wednesday.

The need to add a right-handed starter this off-season is clear. Adding two might not be a bad idea, though one might have to come from inside the organization.

However, there aren’t many strong candidates.

Luke Farrell is likely to be stretched out next spring. Ariel Jurado will be in the rotation hunt. The Rangers haven’t decided if they will give Jonathan Hernandez another go as a starter.

The Rangers might have a few candidates later in the season, if Tyler Phillips and Jason Bahr can graduate from the minors. They finished this season at Double A Frisco, and Phillips needs to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid exposure to the Rule 5 draft.

With 38 games against the A’s and Astros on the schedule, plus 19 more against the righty-hitting Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels, the addition of a right-handed starter if vital for the Rangers.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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