Texas keeps faith in offense despite slump

Texas keeps faith in offense despite slump

ANAHEIM -- With the Rangers' 7-0 loss to the Angels on Sunday -- their ninth time being shut out this season -- Texas concluded a series in which it managed to score just four total runs en route to dropping two of three games to another American League playoff contender.

Heading into a four-game series against the Mariners, Texas is still in the second American League Wild Card slot -- 1 1/2 games up on the Twins and 2 1/2 up on the Angels -- but they know their offense needs to start clicking again. And they think it will.

"We've struggled this road trip. Really haven't been able to gain some traction offensively," manager Jeff Banister said after Sunday's loss at Angel Stadium. "But what I do know is, this is an offense that's been a formidable offense for us, and when they come, they'll come in bunches."

Against the Angels, though, there were no bunches and not enough hits strung together. On Sunday, the Rangers drew six walks against starter Hector Santiago but netted only one hit against him and two in the game. In the series, they went 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position and left 26 men on base.

"People are out to get us. Just because maybe we're the feel-good story, because nobody expected us to be in the position we are right now, nobody's gonna let us just walk into the playoffs," said catcher Chris Gimenez. "It's up to us to come back and go up to Seattle and get back to our winning ways."

Good pitching, Gimenez said, has been a part of Texas' recent struggles offensively. Bad luck has been another -- the Rangers lined into two comebacker double plays to the pitcher in the series in Anaheim, one by Gimenez on Sunday with runners on second and third in the second inning, the team's best chance to score against Santiago.

Some of it's been the Rangers' own doing. They ran into a rally-killing double play in Friday's series opener, when Mitch Moreland got caught between second and third trying to advance on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded. And, of course, Texas hasn't been getting the big hit with runners on.

"That's one of those that if we do get it, it'll kind of just fall into place from there," Gimenez said. "We just need somebody to get that big one, and it hasn't happened the last couple of days."

Banister believes that given how the Rangers' offense has performed during their climb through the standings -- especially the 2-3-4 combination of Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre -- their production, in sequence, will trend back up.

"We're not a club that just bangs the ball out of the ballpark all the time. We're a club that, we get on, we move the line, and we get a double in the gap; or we wear a pitcher down, and that's when we get the home run," Banister said.

"Those guys in the middle will get rolling. And for every time we don't, just means we're closer to doing it."

David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.