Rangers follow a familiar script in series loss to San Francisco


The Texas Rangers haven’t figured out their hitting woes and that continued during a homestand where they went 2-4 against two teams with similar records.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Coming into the season, the pitching for the Texas Rangers was supposed to be the question mark. With nearly a whole staff on the shelf, the arms were expected to be the wild card weak link until the All-Star Break. The plan was to tread water until their cache of future Hall of Famers made their gallant return.

The offense was supposed to carry this team and allow them to hang in there until the cavalry arrived. But that hasn’t been the case. The whole reason that Texas has been able to “hang in there” is because the rest of the AL West has underperformed.

The offense, which was at the top of the league last year, has been nowhere to be seen, and that was painfully apparent as the Rangers lost the series to the San Francisco Giants over the weekend to close out a 2-4 homestand against two other teams floundering near the .500 mark.

Game 63: San Francisco 5, Texas 2 (W: Webb, 5-5, L: Robertson, 2-3, Sv: Doval, 10)Game 64: San Francisco 3, Texas 1 (W: Miller, 1-2, L: Heaney, 2-7, Sv: Doval, 11)Game 65: San Francisco 2, Texas 7 (W: Eovaldi, 3-2, L: Winn, 3-7)

Armed and waiting

Even without the likes of Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, and with Nathan Eovaldi and Jon Gray missing time along with several other injuries to the pitching staff, the arms have been one of the highlights of the year, making Texas’ struggles all the more painful.

However, with several tough decisions coming down the pipeline for manager Bruce Bochy, his starters didn’t make the future choices any easier. Michael Lorenzen and Andrew Heaney battled the Giants over their two starts, and while Lorenzen only lasted 4 ⅔ innings and Heaney just 5 ⅔, each limiting the actual damage San Francisco was able to do.

Lorenzen had an uncharacteristically brief outing but gave up just two runs and Heaney gave up three, with both pitchers just reaching limits after San Francisco was able to wear them down.

After a bit of a hiccup on Friday, the bullpen was able to shut the Giants down over the weekend. On Sunday, Nathan Eovaldi carried the weight of the staff, as he often has during his tenure in Texas, going seven full innings on 90 pitches and giving up just two runs in his second outing since returning from the IL and looking very much like the step-in ace for the Rangers.

Overall, the arms allowed a 3.3 runs per game average through the three-game set with the starters allowing 2.3 runs per nine over 17 ⅓ innings pitched. Once again, that kind of output from the arms should be good enough for victories but Texas only salvaged the finale.

There’s always that one guy

Earlier in the year, it was Shea Langeliers of the Oakland Athletics. Then it was Travis d’Arnaud of the Atlanta Braves. In the first series of this homestand, there was No. 9 hitter Jake Rogers of the Detroit Tigers playing thorn in Texas’ side.

Each of those catchers went off for multi-home run games this season to sink the Rangers. What happened in the first two games of the series wasn’t as dramatic as journeymen catchers having career games against Texas, but they still felt the sting of one player from the opposing team outpacing their full lineup.

On Friday night, it was Wilmer Flores with two solo homers to match the Rangers’ two total runs. The only surprise, perhaps, is Flores isn’t a catcher. On Saturday, it was Heliot Ramos who hit an RBI double and a two-run homer to deal all the damage to Texas in a 3-1 loss.


Over the first two games of this series, the Rangers scored just three runs on 10 hits total. In the first two games of the Detroit series, they scored just two runs on 13 hits. In the finale of the Tigers’ series, Texas scored nine runs. In the finale of the Giants series, they scored seven. In general, winning individual series (a two wins to every loss pace) is a good marker for playoff-caliber teams.

What the Rangers are doing is the opposite of that, dropping two games in convincing style before showing their potential for one brief game. There were different signs of the Rangers’ potential – from hitting homers to stringing together base hits to showing aggression on the basepaths.

Texas simply hasn’t been able to sustain momentum from the end of one series into the next, and the season is also getting past the point where “it’s early” can be used as an excuse and way past the point where “this offense is too good to be this bad for this long” can be said.

Running Wild

Texas showed a slightly different approach in the finale win by displaying newfound aggression on the basepaths. It started in the first inning; after Marcus Semien was hit by a pitch, he stole second base, setting up Wyatt Langford to drive him in with a two-out, bases-loaded single.

With Adolis Garcia at third base following the clutch hit, the fleet-footed Langford took off, and as Giants catcher Patrick Bailey fired to second, Garcia dashed home and scored just under the tag.

Wild abandon on the basepaths is something that Bochy has been reluctant to unleash as manager for Texas (27th in MLB with 79 steals in 2023, 27th in MLB with 30 so far in 2024), but is something that the Rangers might be tasked with deploying more often as they try to score more runs.

In the inning following the three-steal outburst, Travis Jankowski stole second and scored on a Semien homer. It was a multi-faceted attack for the Rangers and something to keep an eye on as they look for ways to jumpstart the offense.

Keeping the momentum going, though, might prove difficult as the Rangers next head West to take on the dangerous Los Angeles Dodgers, who have no such issues scoring runs with former MVPs Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman topping their lineup.

Do you think the Rangers should attempt more stolen bases to ignite their flagging offense? Share your thoughts with Matt on Twitter @FisherWritesMLB.