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Rangers seek answers for offensive funk

Texas' offense punched out 16 times and mustered 4 hits in Wednesday's loss
@Sullivan_Ranger
July 4, 2019

ARLINGTON -- Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Nomar Mazara and Willie Calhoun were huddled in a corner of the Rangers' clubhouse after a 6-2 loss to the Angels on Wednesday night. • Box score The Rangers lost their fourth straight game and there is no doubt some frustration is growing with

ARLINGTON -- Shin-Soo Choo, Elvis Andrus, Nomar Mazara and Willie Calhoun were huddled in a corner of the Rangers' clubhouse after a 6-2 loss to the Angels on Wednesday night.

Box score

The Rangers lost their fourth straight game and there is no doubt some frustration is growing with their lack of offensive production of late.

“Yeah, that’s what we were talking about,” Choo said. “How you figure out how to go back to what we were doing for the first three months. My opinion is everybody wants to do something on every at-bat. We should be building off every at-bat in every inning and do some damage. But everybody is trying hard to do some damage on every at-bat, and swinging at bad pitches. We have to have a better approach.”

The Rangers lost on a night when starter Ariel Jurado pitched well, but couldn’t contain the best player in the game. Jurado pitched six innings and set the Angels down in order in four of those. But Mike Trout hit a three-run home run off him in a four-run second, and another with a leadoff shot the sixth.

“I actually thought Jurado threw the ball really well,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “I was really happy with the way the ball was coming out of his hand, and the swings they were getting. I really liked the way he attacked the strike zone.”

Woodward was more concerned about the offense. The Rangers managed just four hits against Angels starter Jaime Barria and four relievers. Barria has been in and out of Los Angeles' rotation this season and had a 5.55 ERA entering the game. He was also pitching after being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake for the sixth time.

Barria and Jurado also made Major League history. Both are from Panama and this was the first time two pitchers from that country faced off as starters in a Major League game.

Backup catcher Tim Federowicz did most of the damage for the Rangers with a double and a home run. He scored both the Rangers' runs while the rest of the lineup reached base on just two singles and two walks, with 16 strikeouts.

“We have to do a better job offensively,” Woodward said. “A lot of guys were upset the strike zone was floating a little bit, those guys are human back there. They are not going to be perfect, but we do have to do a better job offensively. For so long we stayed in the strike zone and controlled our at-bats, our bat quality was better. Today, I don’t know if it was the umpire or what was getting in the way, but it wasn’t like we have been. We didn’t create any pressure tonight, that was the frustrating part.”

The Rangers have scored just 10 runs in their last four games while hitting .157 with a .273 slugging percentage. They have also struck out 49 times against seven walks.

“The idea is to make that pitcher scared to throw a strike and when he does, you punish it,” Woodward said. “When he doesn’t, we pass the baton to the next guy. That’s what we had been doing. We knew we were going to strike out at times but the way we are doing it now, there is not a whole lot of pressure on the opposing pitcher.”

The Rangers have some key hitters in a funk right now. Mazara has one hit in his last 21 at-bats. Ronald Guzman is in a 1-for-16 skid and so is Calhoun. Choo, a big force in the Rangers' lineup for most of the season, is hitting .209 in his last 25 games. Asdrubal Cabrera, who has been dealing with lower back tightness, is 6-for-54 in his last 15 games.

“We have to do a better job of that going forward,” Woodward said. “The season is a long season. We know there are times we are going to click as an offense, and times when everybody is kind of cold. It is part of the cycle of a season, but we have to do a better job of just stopping that in its tracks right now.”

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.