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SPORTSDAY

Baseball:
Rangers

Rangers finish month of dismay

01:03 AM CDT on Friday, June 1, 2007

By EVAN GRANT / The Dallas Morning News
egrant@dallasnews.com

SEATTLE – On Thursday, the Rangers left behind May with some impressive numbers.

Impressive, only if you are into disasters.

After being unable to overcome another huge deficit, Texas fell 9-5 to Seattle. The score was insignificant. It’s all the flotsam and jetsam from piling on another loss that gets into historical context.

For example:

• A 20-loss month: It was the first month with 20 losses since June, 2003, the third month of Buck Showalter’s first season. The Rangers had lost 20 games in a single month nine previous times, never in May.

• A 105-loss pace: At the one-third point of the season (54 games), the Rangers are 19-35. Multiply that by three and you get a 57-105 record. That would tie the worst mark in franchise history in 1973. The Rangers’ 54-game record matches the worst in club history, also in 1973.

"When you are going bad, even when you get something going right, it seems like something else goes bad," manager Ron Washington said. "When you aren’t playing well, something else breaks down. I believe in these guys, and I believe we’ll finish better than where we are."

• A 6-plus rotation ERA: Thanks to the seven runs Vicente Padilla allowed in three innings, the Rangers’ rotation rose from 6.28 to 6.44. Among the 10 highest full-season rotation ERAs since the stat was first kept in 1957, only four had higher marks at the same point. Detroit, which set the record at 6.64 in 1996, was at 7.06 at the end of May.

By the way, Padilla is a perfectly average Rangers starter. His ERA through May: 6.45.

"Sometimes to me it just looks like he loses focus," Washington said.

• A five-run deficit: Seattle scored three times during a 43-pitch first inning. The Mariners scored four more times in the third. It’s the 21st time this season the Rangers have trailed a game by at least five runs. In each of the three losses in the first four games of this AL West road trip, the Rangers have trailed by at least five runs.

And once again, it was impossible to pick out where to place blame. Padilla, who failed to get through five innings for the fourth time this season, was strike-zone challenged.

But the lineup had plenty of chances to make a dramatic, if not historic, comeback. They even had a chance to do that rarest of things: take an early lead.

The Rangers had two on and one out in the first inning, but Sammy Sosa struck out, and Frank Catalanotto lined out to left field.

After falling down by seven, the Rangers scored five times against Cha Seung Baek in the fourth on a two-run double from Catalanotto and a three-run homer by Gerald Laird.

Then, with chances to complete the comeback, the hitters stalled. The Rangers loaded the bases with one out in the seventh on a hit batsman and two walks. Sosa struck out again. And Catalanotto bounced out to second.

In the eighth, the Rangers got two men on again with one out. Pinch hitter Matt Kata struck out to extend his current slump to 1-for-31. Kenny Lofton followed with another strikeout.

"We’ve just shown that we are not a very good team," Mark Teixeira said. "We need to play better, and that’s one through 25. I felt like I was on a pretty awful team my rookie year [2003] and we lost 91 games. It says a lot that we’re on a pace for 105-loss season."

Yes, it does.

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