May has not been a very good month for the Texas Rangers. In fact, one more loss will make it the worst May in their history.
The struggling Rangers hope to avoid that dubious distinction Thursday night when they open a four-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
After losing 15 of 25 games in April, the Rangers (19-34) hoped for better results in May. Instead, they have matched the 1990 and 2001 teams for the worst May in club history by going 9-19. A defeat in this game would make this the 10th 20-loss month in franchise history.
“I hate the word frustrating,” first baseman Mark Teixeira said on the Rangers’ official Web site. “We’re not a good team. We’re not playing well. If you don’t play well, you don’t expect to win.”
Texas ended a six-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory Tuesday at Oakland, but was unable to sustain that momentum with a 6-1 defeat on Wednesday.
Although John Koronka allowed six runs and 10 hits over 5 1-3 innings in his second start of the season, a better performance may not have mattered because the Rangers managed only four hits off Oakland’s Dan Haren and Kiko Calero.
Texas is averaging 3.4 runs in eight games since scoring 14 in back-to-back contests May 20-21.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said he isn’t worried about Sosa pressing.
“He’ll probably tell you he’s not, but he probably is,” Washington said. “It’s only human nature. When he least expects it, that’s probably when it’s going to happen.”
Vicente Padilla (2-7, 5.77 ERA) will try to get Texas into the win column, something he hasn’t done often this season. Padilla is 0-4 with a 7.59 ERA in four road starts and the Rangers have lost nine of his 11 appearances.
The right-hander was hit hard Saturday in a 7-4 loss to Boston. He allowed six runs, five hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings, losing for the third time in four starts.
Padilla also has never fared well against the Mariners. That trend continued on April 14 when he gave up six runs - four earned - and six hits in six innings of an 8-3 loss at Safeco Field. Padilla is 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA in seven career games against Seattle.
The Mariners (25-24) settled for a 6-4 record on their 10-game, 6,273-mile road trip, which concluded Wednesday with an 8-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
“It’s going to be good to get back home,” Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “We finished the road trip over .500 and we could have done better, but it was a good trip.”
A fourth-inning single extended Ichiro Suzuki’s hitting streak to 23 games - tying his career-best streak from 2001. The two-time AL batting champion is within one game of the franchise record set by Joey Cora in 1997.
Cha Seung Baek (2-2, 4.60) looks to build on an impressive outing for Seattle. The right-hander gave up one unearned run and five hits over seven innings Saturday in a 9-1 victory at Kansas City, throwing 74 of his 98 pitches for strikes.
Since struggling to a 4.65 ERA in his first three starts, Baek has allowed 10 total runs over 28 2-3 innings in his past four outings, good for a 3.14 ERA.
Baek is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four career starts versus the Rangers, although he gave up four runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings at Texas in his April 23 season debut.