Rangers see no need to worry despite skid
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers still control their destiny in the American League West and they're not panicking, even after a 7-4 loss to the Tigers on Monday pushed their losing streak to three games and allowed the Astros to pull within 1 1/2 games of the division lead with their win over the Mariners.
"Worry doesn't do anything," said first baseman Prince Fielder, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. "It just makes everything seem bigger than it is."
With six games left, all of them at home, the Rangers are still close to the division title. Nothing Houston can do could stop Texas from winning the West if the Rangers take care of themselves. And with ace Cole Hamels starting against Detroit on Tuesday, the Rangers feel good about where they are despite the losing streak.
"We've got our guy on the mound tomorrow and we'll get behind him, and we'll come out and play and continue to battle and find a way to push some runs across," manager Jeff Banister said.
The Rangers collected 10 hits off the Tigers, including six off ace Justin Verlander in his six innings of work. They loaded the bases with no outs after Fielder's solo shot in the fourth off Verlander, but Verlander worked out of the jam.
Fielder drove in another run on a groundout in the seventh and hit a two-run single to pull within three in the ninth, but again the Rangers left two men on.
"I liked what we did at the end of the game, where we put some at-bats together," Banister said. "I liked what we did in the middle with putting some at-bats together. We've just got to find a way to continue to get this offense when we have those opportunities. We've been really good in those situations, and when you're facing the caliber of starting pitchers that we've faced the last couple days, they make it tough."
The Rangers faced three of the AL's best starters during their losing streak. Collin McHugh won his 18th game this season when his Astros downed the Rangers on Saturday. Dallas Keuchel, perhaps the leading AL Cy Young Award candidate, won his 19th the next day. Then the Rangers had to face Verlander, the 2011 Cy Young winner.
"If you want to get anywhere, if you're trying to go in the [postseason], you've got to face aces, that's part of it," Fielder said.
The Rangers had their wins leader on the mound on Monday, but Colby Lewis fell short in his bid to push his career-high total to 18 victories. He got in deep trouble in the fifth and left after 4 2/3 innings, surrendering six earned runs on 10 hits.
Lewis could start the second-to-last game of the season on Saturday in a game that could either be a must-win or merely an afterthought if the Rangers clinch before then.
"We've got six games left," Lewis said. "I feel like it's as important as any other time. We've done a pretty good job of not putting pressure on ourselves."