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Thursday newsletter time: Rangers’ offense can’t cash in (twice!) in loss to Nats

(Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports)

 

ARLINGTON — For each step forward the Rangers have taken this season, they seem to immediately take another back.

The culprit has usually been the offense, and that was the case Wednesday night in a 1-0 loss to the Nationals.

The Rangers came up empty twice in a situation when a team must score: bases loaded and no outs. It happened in the second and fifth innings against right-hander Trevor Williams, and the Rangers scored nothing but frustration.

“I guess you can say he kept his poise,” manager Bruce Bochy. “He has a good sinker and a good slider, and he just made pitches when he had to.”

The Rangers stranded 11 runners, and their lone hit in nine tries with the bases loaded didn’t produce a run. Six of those came with the bases loaded, marking the first time since 1978 the Rangers have had at least six bases-loaded at-bats and failed to score.

They have been shut out three times this season.

The lack of production spoiled Andrew Heaney’s best start of the season. The left-hander allowed the one Washington run on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He felt after his last start that he was trending in the right direction, and he was right.

Jose Leclerc and Jake Latz worked a scoreless inning apiece to give the Rangers’ lineup two more chances.

The two missed chances earlier in the game, though, doomed them.

First month’s top player

Adolis Garcia connected for eight home runs and drove in 25 runs last month, and for that he was selected as the Rangers Player of the Month to open the season.

The numbers are there, and he produced in some clutch situations.

But he wasn’t a unanimous selection. I voted for Josh Smith (and so did at least one other media member).

Smith has been one of the team’s top hitters, as well as one of the league’s top hitters, and he has assumed an everyday role as Josh Jung’s fill-in at third base after the initial thought was Smith and Ezequiel Duran would share the position. That was the same thought last season when Corey Seager was injured, and Duran played so well that he became an everyday player.

Smith went 1 for 3 on Wednesday to extend his career-best on-base streak to 18 games. He’s batting .318 average with a .914 OPS.

The takeaway from the Smith-Duran flip-flop is that most major-league hitters who receive a steady diet of playing time are going to hit. Young players like Smith and Duran need more at-bats to stay sharp than a veteran, like Travis Jankowski, would.

Duran will get a start Thursday, Bochy said.

Jung still has at least a month to go until he has recovered from his broken arm, so Smith will keep playing. As the Rangers attempted to do last season with Duran, they will try to keep Smith in the lineup.

That might be easier said than done.

 

ICYMI …

A Monday off day always puts a kink in the Thursday edition of ICYMI. So does shopping for a new car. But there is always news with this club, and T.R. Sullivan has cranked out a Boys of Arlington memoir on Pete Incaviglia. It’s a two-parter as T.R. returns to midseason form. Check out our latest content below, in case you missed it.

Rangers notes: Jack Leiter returning?

Max Scherzer gets the thumb

T.R.’s Memoirs: Nelson Cruz muddled Rangers tenure

Run, Wyatt, run

First-month rundown

Doggy video!

Totally worth the sore back. Enjoy.

 

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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