Will Players-Only Meeting End Texas Rangers’ Funk?

Mitch Moreland and the Texas Rangers know that they can still save the season. Photo Courtesy: Darryl Briggs
Mitch Moreland and the Texas Rangers know that they can still save the season. Photo Courtesy: Darryl Briggs

By Mark Miller

While one game is no indicator of an entire season, what happened before and during Sunday’s action may prove telling for the Texas Rangers.

Shortly after arriving at Globe Life Park in Arlington, veteran team members called a players’ only meeting after losing 14 of the previous 19 games. The Rangers then went out and backed up whatever they said to each other by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 6-2.

The victory was just the second of the week and the only time in six games the Rangers scored more than four runs. Interestingly, it ran the team’s record with such offensive output to 12-4 while it is 9-19 when scoring four or less runs.

“They’re the ones who get the job done between the lines so it was nice that they decided to have a conversation amongst themselves,” said manager Ron Washington. “You love to see that.”

Like other conversations within the clubhouse, the specifics of this one remained among those involved. But shortstop Elvis Andrus did give a general indication of its tone.

“We said we need to stay focused. We have to get it done between the lines,” he said. “We’ve got to get out of this funk. We have four months left in the season so there’s still plenty of time to get it done.”

Texas moved closer to expected form against knuckleball pitcher and former Ranger R.A. Dickey thanks in large part to a two-run triple by Alex Rios and two-run home run by Mitch Moreland. It was only the second homer of the season for Moreland.

“There’s certainly a lot more that those guys can do offensively,” Washington said. “We’ve got to keep grinding and what we are will come to the surface.”

“We just want to get back to playing Texas Rangers baseball,” Moreland said. “We’re still capable of some special things this year. I think was a good first step and we’ve got to continue to keep it rolling.”

Typical Texas Rangers baseball involves scoring runs something they have had plenty of trouble doing in 2014.  Entering Sunday’s games they only had managed 169 runs, 12th in the American League and club’s lowest in the first 43 games since 1988.

The Rangers scored as many runs Sunday as they had in their four previous games, two losses each to the Houston Astros and Blue Jays. Their only other win of the week was a 4-0 shutout against Houston courtesy of starter Colby Lewis and the bullpen.

Mariners Precede Start of Long Trip
The Rangers conclude their short home stand with two games against the Seattle Mariners before starting an 11-game road trip in Detroit with four games into the weekend.

Seattle ended a four-game losing streak Sunday by beating Minnesota and remain half a game ahead of the Rangers in the American League West. The Mariners’ 21-22 record includes a 3-4 record against Texas including two of three wins that started the Rangers on their current funk.

The Tigers entered the week as the hottest team in baseball with six straight wins after sweeping the Red Sox in Boston over the weekend. Detroit has the best record in baseball at 27-12 with a combination of strong hitting and pitching.

Detroit is second in the Major Leagues in hitting at .276 and second in the American League in pitching with a 3.15 earned run average. Leading the offense are Victor Martinez in hitting at .331 and homers with 10, Miguel Cabrera in runs batted in with 39 and Raji Davis in stolen bases with 14. Former Ranger Ian Kinsler is hitting .315 with four homers and 20 RBI.

On the mound, Max Scherzer has a  6-1 record and 1.83 earned run average and 73 strikeouts while Rick Porcello is 7-1, 2.91 and Justin Verlander is 5-2, 3.24. Former Texas closer Joe Nathan has 11 saves in 13 attempts.

Upcoming Schedule
5/20 vs. Mariners 7:05 p.m.
5/21 vs. Mariners 1:05 p.m.
5/22 @Tigers 12:08 p.m.
5/23 @Tigers 6:08 p.m.
5/24 @Tigers 3:08 p.m.
5/25 @Tigers 12:08 p.m.