The Rangers went down in order in the first inning to open their matchup with the Dodgers Friday night at Dodger Stadium, which was an omen for how the rest of the game would go.
The bottom half of the frame started with an uncharacteristic throwing error from Gold Glove infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa, before starter Mike Foltynewicz gave up three home runs in the six-run first inning and Texas ultimately fell, 12-1.
“[The first inning] was just a little bit deflating,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. “I think that's where, as a starting pitcher, that's your responsibility to kind of go out and maybe get zeros and keep us in the game.
“Folty has been working his butt off, and I feel bad for him. But at the same time, he knows he's got to go out and execute better than he did tonight. That's just the bottom line. Anytime you're down six-nothing after the first thing, you don't really feel good about the rest of the game.”
Woodward said execution was lacking in all three phases of the game: on the mound, in the field and at the plate
The loss extends the club’s road losing streak to 16 games, matching a franchise record set by the 1961 Washington Senators. Woodward said he is not worried about the streak anymore, but is more concerned with the club’s ability to win on the road in general and simply find ways to win games.
“We’ve just got to play baseball, like go out and win a game,” Woodward said. “It's not rocket science, what we need to do right now. The more we keep talking about what we can’t do, we're losing focus on what we should be doing. So I don't really care about the losing streak. I want to make sure we play a clean game.”
Four Rangers pitchers combined to allow 16 hits and 11 earned runs. The five home runs were the most surrendered in one game since Texas allowed six to the Yankees at Globe Life Park on Sept. 27, 2019.
Foltynewicz, who gave up eight hits and eight runs, said it’s “embarrassing” to have an outing like that, both individually and as a team. He then explained that things just happened very quickly for him in the first inning and he was never able to get himself back on track.
The Rangers’ offense got on the board with one run in a chaotic sixth inning in which the Dodgers committed a fielding error and had an errant throw, but they weren't able to add on.
One positive Woodward took from the game was veteran infielder Charlie Culberson’s hustle late in the game, despite the lopsided ledger. With the bases loaded in the eighth inning, he outran the throw for a run-scoring infield single -- that was eventually called back -- only to come out in the bottom half and pitch a scoreless frame. It was Culberson’s fifth career pitching appearance in the big leagues.
Woodward said that in situations like that, it's good to show the team that they don’t stop fighting just because they’re down big.
“I'm tired of having moments like that when we're down by 10 or we're losing, but it did show a lot there to the ballclub to the group that we're going to run balls out no matter what,” Woodward said. “That's why we have him on the team, honestly. Those are things that our young guys need to see. This isn't always going to work out. There's gonna be tough nights, but we're going to continue to play we're going to continue to compete.”