Rangers' skid continues with sweep by Astros

September 7th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder leapt at the right-field wall, attempting to rob Michael Brantley of a solo home run in the second inning of Wednesday’s matchup against the Astros. 

The home run landed on the opposite side of the wall, extending the Astros’ lead to two runs at the time, and García remained on the ground for a long stretch after slamming into the wall. After a lengthy conversation with trainer Matt Lucero and associate manager Will Venable, García was removed from the game with right knee discomfort and replaced by Robbie Grossman.

The game didn’t end there, but it felt like it did in Globe Life Field, as the Rangers’ rough stretch continued with a 12-3 loss to the Astros and a sweep at the hands of their in-state rivals.

“Obviously this was not a good series,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “There wasn’t a lot we did well, to be honest. They played well. They got hot on us, and they didn't miss any mistakes. The long ball killed us in this series. We just didn't execute pitches. We left a lot up throughout the series, and we paid for it. They pitched well, they swung the bats and they put it to us, there's no getting around that.”

  • Games remaining: vs OAK (3); at TOR (4); at CLE (3); vs BOS (3); vs SEA (3); at LAA (3); at SEA (4)
  • Standings update: The Rangers fell two games behind the Mariners and three behind the Astros in the American League West. With the win, Houston remains in sole possession of first place in the division. Texas is also a half game back of Toronto for the third AL Wild Card spot.

It was a complete manhandling of a series in Arlington, as the Astros unloaded for 50 hits and 16 home runs, while outscoring the Rangers 39-10 across the three-game set. Houston is the first team in MLB history to record 50 hits and 16 home runs in a three-game series.

“It was rough, that’s what it was,” Bochy said. “That was one of the toughest series I've seen in a while for these guys. But you know what? These guys -- it's been a while -- but they've shown all year they can bounce back. They're trying. They’re pulling for each other. That dynamic is not going to change because we're struggling. They're going to come out here next game. They're going to give it all they have.”

The Rangers have now lost 15 of their last 19 games, dating back to Aug. 16. During that stretch, Texas starting pitchers are winless (0-7), including just three innings and a season-high seven earned runs from Max Scherzer on Wednesday.

Scherzer took the loss, surrendering a trio of home runs to Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley and José Abreu, and he left the game after just 60 pitches. Marcus Semien provided all of the Rangers’ offense with two solo homers and a 4-for-4 night with all three of the team’s RBIs.

It just wasn’t enough.

“Obviously you want to come out here, you want to win,” Scherzer said. “Unfortunately, that's not what happened tonight. We have to come back on Friday and beat somebody. …You gotta come out here and win. You gotta come out here and play as a team. No one player is gonna do this. No one player is going to snap out of this. No one player is going to all of a sudden create a winning streak. That's impossible. You gotta win as a team.”

But when asked what the Rangers need to do to get back on track and keep themselves in the postseason picture, Scherzer was honest in his assessment that it’s not a simple fix.

As a collective, everybody needs to play better from the pitching, to the offense, to the fielding, baserunning and everything in between. Just three weeks ago, Texas was doing most of those things despite a struggling bullpen.

Now the Rangers have to figure out how to turn it back on.

“I don't know if anybody has the right answer for that,” Scherzer said. “I think every team responds differently to adversity, and every player responds to adversity in a different way. So it's everybody throwing their hand into this and putting them on the rope, and all of this pulling together. It's gotta be a complete team effort in order to win here at the Major League level consistently.

“Everybody can look in the mirror and sit there and say, ‘I wish I could do something better.’ That's what it takes at this level. The line between good and great, it's so small, and little things beat you every single time out. Everybody's got to just do their job just a little bit better.”