Offensive struggles continue in loss to Tigers

July 21st, 2021

DETROIT -- The Rangers went 27 innings without scoring a run over their past four games. The last time they had scored was in the top of the ninth in Friday's loss to the Blue Jays. 

On Tuesday night, Texas scored its lone run off a game-tying RBI double from Andy Ibáñez in the fifth inning, but the offense once again stalled, this time against Tigers rookie starter Tarik Skubal, leading to a 4-1 loss at Comerica Park.

Texas had a chance to hop out to an early lead in the first inning, but was unable to cash in. Back-to-back one-out hits from Eli White and Adolis García put runners on the corners, but Joey Gallo popped out and then García got caught in a rundown on the bases. White took off for home, but was thrown out at the plate for the final out of the inning.

“We've always obviously preached being aggressive on the bases, but that was just a mistake on his part,” said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. “It’s something we’ve got to talk about and clean up. But overall I liked our at-bats in the first inning. We put some pressure, Eli attacked them right away and Adolis put together a good at-bat. Then obviously we made one mistake.”

The loss extended the Rangers’ losing streak to five games out of the All-Star break and seven games overall.

By scoring one run, the Rangers avoided becoming the first team in club history and just the fourth team in the divisional era (since 1969) to be shut out in four straight games. Per ​​Elias Sports Bureau, the only streak in Rangers history longer than this was 28 innings from July 13-15, 1972, though they had several longer as the Washington Senators. It's the second-longest scoreless streak in MLB this year, with the Royals going 28 innings from May 5-8.

Woodward, who was notably disappointed following the series-opening loss to the Tigers the previous night, said they “just got beat.” In Monday's loss, Woodward felt like there was a lack of fight, whereas the preparation and effort was present in Game 2.

Woodward said the team had a discussion in the hitters’ meeting before the start of the game and though he didn’t want to get into specifics, he felt like the message was received. He emphasized that the approach at the plate was much better and the Rangers’ hitters put together quality at-bats, even if the box score didn’t show it.

“Sometimes [in the meetings] you just kind of talk about the expectations of what we want to accomplish up there,” Woodward said. “I know how hard it is to hit for a living and I'm not here to say that we should be scoring 10 runs a game. It's really hard in this league, but obviously I was pretty upset after yesterday's game. I thought the fight was there, the preparation was there, everything was pretty good.”

Rangers starter went 4 2/3 innings in the loss, surrendering four hits and three runs following a two-hour, 10-minute weather delay. Dunning said he felt a little sluggish after the delay but still settled in once he got through the first inning.

Overall, the 26-year-old rookie said he felt good with his mix of pitches and location, though he admitted he could have been better.

Dunning, who has been on an innings limit all season, said that he wanted to stay and get the final out of the fifth inning, but Woodward wanted to preserve his arm with him having 13 days off between starts.

“I just try to work as efficiently as possible,” Dunning said. “I try to get our boys up to bat and try to do good for us. I mean, I just got to kind of compete and show the team that I've got their backs.”