Banister's focus on future, not Rangers' funk

July 21st, 2017

BALTIMORE -- The Rangers are getting dangerously close to falling out of contention in the American League Wild Card race, and being swept by the Orioles isn't about to inspire confidence.
It will be up to general manager Jon Daniels to interpret the results of all this as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, but the Rangers have now lost five straight after a 9-7 loss to the Orioles on Thursday night at Camden Yards.
"[Daniels] and I are in communication every day [about] where the state of this baseball team is," manager Jeff Banister said. "This is a team that prior to the break was swinging the bat well, pitching it well, throwing it well. To say that's going to vanish for an extended period of time, I don't believe it.
"I believe in these guys, but five losses don't help the cause that this team is going in the direction that it needs to go. That's fair. But this is a team that can fight, scratch and claw and win baseball games."
The Rangers open a three-game series with the Rays -- one of the leaders in the AL Wild Card chase -- on Friday in St. Petersburg. Texas has nine games left before the Trade Deadline.
"We are five or six wins away from being where we need to be," Banister said. "There are still two-plus months left to play. I know there is a date [July 31] that everybody is fixed on, but the only date I am worried about is tomorrow. We've got a baseball game to play tomorrow."
The Rangers haven't won since Cole Hamels' 1-0 victory over the Royals last Saturday. Hamels had a 5-1 lead in this one going into the bottom of the fifth, but home runs by and made it a one-run game, and the Orioles scored four more in the sixth inning to take the lead and complete the sweep.
Hamels' 24-inning scoreless streak ended, and he took his first loss of the season.
"Just to not be able to get the job when the team actually gives you a significant lead, I know that's something I [need to] finish off and hand it over to the bullpen," Hamels said. "To be able to do what I did, it's definitely unacceptable. It's tough for all of us. We are all trying to search and get back on a good roll. It's coming from everywhere -- the starters, the bullpen, the hitters. We are all trying to get back in that groove we are confident with."