The Texas Rangers’ offensive struggles over the past week have left them virtually no margin for error if they’re to make the AL playoffs.
At least for one game, however, their offense decided to re-emerge.
The Rangers will try to build on their best effort at the plate in the past 10 games Tuesday night when they continue a four-game road set with the Oakland Athletics.
Texas (82-67) was two games behind Boston for the AL wild card and 4 1/2 back of AL West-leading Los Angeles as of Sept. 9, but the past two weeks have all but ruined its chances of qualifying for the postseason for the first time since 1999.
The Rangers totaled one run during a five-game losing streak from Sept. 13-18, and a fourth shutout in five games Sept. 18 against the Angels dropped them 7 1/2 back in the division race.
That’s where they remained after splitting their final two games with Los Angeles over the weekend, and the Angels continued to roll with a 5-2 win over the New York Yankees on Monday. Texas, however, finally got a big game from its offense the same night, getting three hits and two RBIs each from rookie Julio Borbon(notes), David Murphy(notes) and Hank Blalock(notes) in a 10-3 rout of Oakland (71-79).
“The way we have been swinging the bats the last seven or eight games is not what we expected,” said Borbon, who’s hitting .326 with three homers since Sept. 8. “This is something we can build from.”
The Rangers may find their trips to the plate a bit tougher Tuesday. Rookie Trevor Cahill(notes) (9-12, 4.54 ERA) will be looking for his fourth straight win, with his latest outing qualifying as the best of his brief career.
Cahill held the Rangers to one single over seven innings Wednesday in Arlington and struck out a season-high seven in a 4-0 victory that finished a three-game sweep.
“He had everything going,” rookie catcher Landon Powell(notes) told the A’s official Web site. “His changeup, slider and fastball all have a ton of movement, and when he’s throwing it all for strikes … it makes it pretty difficult to hit.”
It wasn’t the first time the Rangers, 7-9 against Oakland, have struggled to hit Cahill. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA this season, limiting them to a .192 average.
Cahill has allowed just one home run in his past seven starts. If Texas can’t homer Tuesday, it’ll be the seventh straight game the A’s have gone without giving one up - their longest streak since the 102-win 2001 team made it eight in a row from Aug. 24-31.
Brandon McCarthy(notes) (7-3, 4.97) will take the mound for the Rangers hoping to bounce back from his shortest outing of the season. He gave up four runs over three innings last Tuesday in a 6-1 loss to the A’s, falling to 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA in three starts since he’s returned from a stress fracture in his right shoulder.
McCarthy is 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA in three starts against Oakland this season. Jack Cust(notes) is 2 for 6 with a grand slam off the right-hander, who’s 2-2 with a 7.79 ERA in six road starts against AL opponents.