With two of their biggest bats out of their lineup, the Texas Rangers’ offense has gone silent at the wrong time, putting them in a tenuous position in the postseason race.
They’ll hope to end a 19-inning scoreless streak early in Tuesday’s game against the visiting Oakland Athletics, whose surprisingly potent bats have helped them play spoiler lately.
After the Rangers (80-63) were shut down by Seattle’s Felix Hernandez(notes) and the Mariners’ bullpen in a 5-0 loss Sunday, they weren’t any better against a less imposing pitcher in Monday’s series opener against the A’s.
Using a lineup that remains without injured All-Stars Michael Young(notes) and Josh Hamilton(notes), Texas managed five hits in a 9-0 defeat as Oakland’s Brett Tomko(notes) picked up his second career shutout.
The Rangers slipped 4 1/2 games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race, but their better shot at the playoffs could be winning the AL West. They trail Los Angeles by six games, but have seven more head-to-head matchups with the Angels including three to close this homestand.
First, the Rangers will try to salvage their series against the A’s, and avoid their first three-game skid since Aug. 3-5 - all in Oakland.
“We want to put ourselves in as good a position as possible and we haven’t done that the last two days,” said Texas’ Scott Feldman(notes), who started and lost Monday’s game. “Regardless, we’re still in this thing. We just need to show the character we’ve shown all year and move on.”
The right-hander has won both of his starts since a lengthy disabled list stint due to a shoulder problem, but didn’t pitch particularly well last Tuesday at Cleveland, almost blowing a seven-run lead and allowing five runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 10-5 victory.
“I feel good, I feel consistent, I feel I’m where I need to be,” McCarthy said. “When you have a team down like that, you can’t let them back up. But outside of that, everything else feels good.”
McCarthy is 1-3 with a 10.29 ERA in four career starts against Oakland, but beat the A’s with six strong innings in a 14-1 win May 30, the last time he faced them.
Oakland will counter with Edgar Gonzalez (0-2, 4.92). Just three of Gonzalez’s 23 appearances this year have been starts, but one came against the Rangers on May 29, when he allowed five runs in five innings of a 5-2 defeat.
The A’s (65-78) have provided their pitchers with plenty of run support lately. They’ve won six of eight, batting .325 and totaling 53 runs in those games while slowing down AL Central contenders Minnesota and Chicago.
“He’s splitting the gap against some pretty good fastball pitchers,” manager Bob Geren told the A’s official Web site. “He’s been very consistent.”