Texas Rangers

Rangers struggle to solve Rodon as White Sox even series

Rangers right fielder Shin-Soo Choo reacts as he is called out on strikes as White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers watches during the fifth inning Saturday.
Rangers right fielder Shin-Soo Choo reacts as he is called out on strikes as White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers watches during the fifth inning Saturday. AP

Who’s next? Cy Young? Nolan Ryan? Greg Maddux?

The Texas Rangers have to be wondering when the run of top-shelf opposing pitchers will come to an end.

Carlos Rodon, the third overall pick in last year’s draft, was the latest foe to give Texas fits.

Rodon held the Rangers to four hits over six innings Saturday as the White Sox evened the series with a 3-2 win at U.S. Cellular Field. The victory snapped a season-high eight-game losing streak for Chicago.

It could have been worse for Rangers starter Nick Martinez, who battled through several jams in six innings. He had the bases loaded four times — including twice in the third when Chicago jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

Of course, with a little better defense, it could have been a whole lot better for Martinez and the Rangers.

Shortstop Elvis Andrus committed two errors, including one on a tailor-made double play ball that skipped by his glove and scored two runs. A double play would have ended the inning, but the White Sox instead increased their lead to 3-0.

Andrus admitted he took his eye off the ball anticipating the flip to Rougned Odor at second.

“It was a really easy ground-ball double play, and I just took my eye off the ball,” he said. “If I get the same ground ball a thousand times, I know I’ll make that play.”

Martinez (5-3) kept the Rangers within striking distance despite struggling with his command. He held Chicago to six singles, but walked three and hit three batters. Two of the three runs he allowed were earned.

“I battled my [butt] off,” Martinez said. “It could have gone real bad for me at many points. I didn’t give in, so A-plus for that.”

Ross Detwiler held the White Sox hitless in two innings of relief.

In the seventh, Leonys Martin hit a deep fly ball into the right-field seats that was ruled foul. The Rangers thought it may have been fair before hooking around the foul pole, which would have tied the score at 3-all.

The play was reviewed and the foul call stood.

“It was close,” Martin said. “I couldn’t tell if it was fair or a foul ball.”

Yovani Gallardo (6-6) will start the series finale Sunday against White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana (3-7) at 1:10 p.m.

No disrespect to Quintana, but after facing Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Chris Sale and Rodon the previous four games, the Rangers’ offense may appreciate his 4.03 ERA. In the four games combined, Texas has struck out 54 times.

The past four have been particularly tough for Shin-Soo Choo (2 for 15 with six strikeouts), Martin (0 for 12 with eight strikeouts) and Andrus (2 for 14 with three strikeouts).

Even Prince Fielder, who had three hits in his previous two games, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts Saturday.

Not only have the Rangers faced excellent pitching over the past four days, but they’ve had to do it with a less than ideal travel schedule.

Andrus acknowledged being a little more tired than usual after arriving at the team’s Chicago hotel at 7:15 a.m. Friday following a night game in Los Angeles on Thursday.

But he wasn’t blaming that for his two errors, which also included a routine grounder in the sixth.

“I feel bad for [Martinez] because he was throwing a tremendous game,” said Andrus, who is tied for fourth in the majors with 14 errors.

Andrus committed 18 errors last season and 14 in 2013. He had a career-high 25 in 2011, his third year in the league.

Banister, who suggested Friday that Andrus and several other players were due for a day off, said fatigue wasn’t an issue.

“The guy is a professional. He’s played long enough to know where he’s at physically and mentally,” Banister said. “I’m not going to speculate on how he feels. I know I check in with them.

“He feels fine. I don’t think [fatigue] necessarily plays into it.”

Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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