Calhoun, Kiner-Falefa: Texas' stout 1-2 punch

June 3rd, 2021

After a fairly quiet start to the series vs. the Rockies on the offensive end, the Rangers got multi-hit games from their top two hitters in the lineup -- Willie Calhoun and Isiah Kiner-Falefa -- on Wednesday night.

A two-out double from Calhoun and an RBI single from Kiner-Falefa in the third inning gave Texas its first lead in a road game since May 15, but their hot nights weren’t enough to secure the victory as the Rangers fell, 6-3, to Colorado at Coors Field.

The loss extended Texas’ road losing streak to 14 games, which also extended the franchise record for road losses since the club relocated from Washington, D.C., in 1972.

Manager Chris Woodward said that the game plan was to come out swinging and be aggressive at the plate. Rangers hitters were looking for a fastball in any count and letting it rip, though the results didn’t have much to show for it. 

It’s no shock that with the game plan, Calhoun and Kiner-Falefa had the best nights at the plate. 

“I still think there's some things coming [for the offense],” Woodward said. “There are some things that are going to take a little time. It's just a matter of time before that comes out of the ground. In this environment, it's just a little bit of pressure. They feel like they need to come up with the big hit. And this isn't a positive pressure. This is a pretty negative pressure, trying to break a losing streak.”

Kiner-Falefa was 2-for-4 with a run scored, having reached a third time on an error. Calhoun put in work on both sides of the field, going 2-for-4 as well, in addition to robbing at least extra bases from Charlie Blackmon at the wall in left field in the bottom of the third inning. 

“If they can keep doing that, getting on base with those guys behind them, Nate [Lowe] is going to start swinging and Joey [Gallo] is going to start swinging it and we'll be fine,” said veteran infielder Brock Holt.

Despite the two hot nights, the Rangers’ woes have continued. Against the Rockies, they were 2-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners on base.

Holt said that he wishes that he had an answer for Texas’ current struggles, saying that it’s tough even for him to go through this frustrating situation.

Woodward said that he spoke to the team after the game, and some of the veterans such as Holt and Khris Davis got up in front of the clubhouse to speak their mind about the situation. Davis emphasized that the Rangers are all in this together and it’s important to pick one another up at this stage.

“It was good for the guys to hear that things are going to get better,” Woodward said. “We’ve got to believe in that. A lot of guys have talked about the process and we’ve got to stick with that, as we said from Day One. That's going to get us out of this. But we also have to stay together and remain unified in that clubhouse.”

Woodward said that he felt like having a kind of informal team meeting Wednesday instead of earlier in the losing streak because this was the closest that he felt they’ve come to winning recently.

Woodward also felt like the energy on the field Wednesday was positive for the most part throughout the game and wanted to keep that going.

“I know we have a day game [Thursday], I just wanted to make sure we came out with good energy,” Woodward said. “I felt like it was the time and the place to kind of share that message. I don't like having a team meeting for that reason, but at the same time, there are certain times where you just feel like they're a little more deflated than I would like.”