As the highest-scoring team in the majors, the Texas Rangers expect to be carried by their potent offense. Lately, though, that offense has been shut down. The result is Texas’ first three-game losing streak in nearly three months.
The Rangers look to get back into the win column on Saturday night when they continue a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
After scoring three runs in dropping the final two games of a four-game series against the New York Yankees, Texas (60-57) was limited to six hits in a 9-1 loss to the Orioles on Friday night.
The Rangers entered this series having won four of their last five at Baltimore, totaling 59 runs in those games. Jeremy Guthrie, however, continued his outstanding pitching, allowing only Travis Metcalf’s solo homer in seven strong innings while beating Texas for the second time this season.
Texas, batting .232 (23-for-99) during its three-game skid, hasn’t lost four straight since a seven-game slide April 18-24.
“We looked tired,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “I’m not making no excuses because that guy over there threw pretty good. … That’s the first time we had it handed to us in a while.”
While the Rangers have scored a major league-best 652 runs, that production is often offset by a pitching staff that has compiled a 5.27 ERA, worst in the majors.
All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler figures to be back in the lineup after Washington gave him a rare night off Friday. Kinsler, batting .202 since the All-Star break, had appeared in 112 of Texas’ 116 games this season.
“The last thing we him to do is get frustrated,” Washington said.
“That changes everything,” outfielder Marlon Byrd said. “Those two guys put fear into a pitching staff. But we have to go with what we have.”
Kevin Millar hit a pair of homers for the Orioles (55-59), who are in a stretch where they play 16 of 19 games on the road.
“Jeremy Guthrie set the tone. He set down a very good offensive club tonight,” Millar said.
Aubrey Huff went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, one short of his career high.
Texas’ Vicente Padilla (12-5, 4.59 ERA) hopes for better results in his second start this season against the Orioles. The right-hander lasted a season-low 2 2-3 innings in a 10-4 loss at Camden Yards on July 4, allowing eight runs and nine hits. He has only one quality outing in five career starts versus Baltimore, going 1-4 with an 8.51 ERA.
Padilla gave up four runs and six hits over six innings against the Yankees on Monday, leaving without a decision in the Rangers’ 9-5 victory.
Daniel Cabrera (7-7, 4.97) takes the mound for Baltimore. The right-hander was unable to build off a strong performance in a win over the Yankees in his last start, as he allowed seven runs and seven hits over six innings in an 8-4 loss Sunday at Seattle.
Tied for the league lead in walks issued and the leader in both wild pitches and hit batsmen, Cabrera has only two wins in his last 14 starts. He is 3-1 in nine home starts this season despite a 5.89 ERA.
Cabrera has struggled in three career starts - all at home - against the Rangers, going 0-3 with a 7.63 ERA.