ARLINGTON -- The course of a team's season ebbs and flows over the six months it takes to make it to the finish line.Whichever one of those words means "performing poorly" is the one that describes the Rangers at the moment. They dropped their third straight game Thursday for the
ARLINGTON -- The course of a team's season ebbs and flows over the six months it takes to make it to the finish line.
Whichever one of those words means "performing poorly" is the one that describes the Rangers at the moment. They dropped their third straight game Thursday for the first time since being swept in Oakland in the last week of August, falling to the Mariners in a 10-4 game that was decided early.
The loss capped off a seven-game homestand in which the Rangers won just two, and they're two games under .500 with 16 to go.
"You're in it long enough, you see a number of things," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "You see the ebb and flow. You see teams get hot, you see teams get cold. ... Baseball, like I've said before, has a cruel sense of humor sometimes. It can be grinding, and in September it does get challenging."
Andrew Cashner, who had been as solid as they come in the rotation of late, completed fewer than five innings for the first time since mid-June. The offense struggled, having scored just eight runs in the past three games.
Now in a situation in which they can ill afford to lose, the Rangers embark on a nine-game road trip. It's not a stretch to say the season could hang in the balance.
"That's the season right there. Coming back with a positive road trip, we can still get an opportunity to push into the last days here at home," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "I hope we're all in the same boat, I hope everybody's thinking that way, because there's no tomorrow for us."
Part of the team's mantra has been that when their backs are against the wall, they perform the best. Banister coined the team motto last year, "Never Ever Quit," and that attitude is still prevalent in the Rangers' clubhouse. They believe they're not out of the American League Wild Card race, daunting as the task may seem.
They've just got to go prove it.
"We've been punched in the mouth," Banister said. "We're not out. We're still going. We're going to play till the end. You talk about how the season hinges on the next nine games, the hinge will be whether we're in or we're out. We plan on playing to get in."
Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas and covered the Rangers on Thursday.