ARLINGTON -- When it comes to the American League Division Series, the Rangers inexplicably have had problems hitting and winning at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
That has been the case throughout club history, and it continued on Sunday night with a 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays in Game 3. It was the ninth ALDS game hosted by the Rangers at Globe Life Park, going back to 1996, and they have now lost eight of them. That 1-8 record keeps coming back to simply not being able to hit in their ballpark.
Their struggles at home in the first round didn't keep them from going to the World Series in 2010 and '11. But after winning the first two games in Toronto, the Rangers are now up 2-1 in this best-of-five series, with Game 4 scheduled for 4 p.m. ET on Monday (FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet) in Arlington. If the Rangers don't win then, they are headed back to Toronto for a winner-take-all Game 5 on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet).
"They are a great team, but we are still in a good spot," designated hitter Prince Fielder said. "Tomorrow we just need to come out and get that last one."
The Rangers need to get their offense going. They managed just five hits against Marco Estrada and four Blue Jays relievers, and are now hitting .186 as a team for three games. As the late Yogi Berra allegedly said, "It's déjà vu all over again." In those nine ALDS games at home through the years, the Rangers have a collective team batting average of .189.
"We just haven't been able to create opportunities, but Estrada pitched a good game," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We have been facing some tough pitching, but we know it takes just one game to get us going. These guys know what they have to do to make adjustments."
The middle of the order has come up missing. Shin-Soo Choo, who was the AL Player of the Month for September, has a single in 13 at-bats. Fielder is 1-for-12, Andrus is 2-for-14 and Mitch Moreland is 0-for-6. Josh Hamilton was 0-for-11 until he had hits in his last two at-bats on Sunday night.
It was guys like Delino DeShields, Rougned Odor, Robinson Chirinos and Hanser Alberto who got the job done in Toronto. Now the Rangers could use some muscle from the middle of the order. Alberto's third-inning double was the Rangers' only extra-base hit on Sunday. They have five in three games.
"We would have liked to have scored six runs tonight and won it, 6-5," Fielder said. "Other than that, no, we're fine."
Texas' offense could use Adrian Beltre, but he remains day to day with a strained lower back. The Rangers don't know if he'll be ready for Game 4, but they are not ready to make a roster move to replace him.
"We'll check in with Adrian tomorrow," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I'm sure with each passing hour he has gotten better. We feel like if Adrian comes in and says he's ready to go, then he's ready to go. Again, this is ... I'll reiterate this: We knew that this was going to be a challenging series.
"We went into Toronto, played two really good ballgames. We came away with two wins because we played the game of baseball well. We'll show up tomorrow. If Adrian's ready to go, then Adrian will be in the lineup. If not, then we'll post up with the players that we have available to us and play a game of baseball at the level we typically play."