Rangers left frustrated with bats in slumber

Choo's homer one of Texas' two hits in San Diego

Rangers left frustrated with bats in slumber

SAN DIEGO -- The Rangers are in a funk, and with it, comes frustration. In the wake of Monday's 5-1 loss to the Padres, it's clear something is amiss with the two-time defending American League West champions.

"Everybody is tired of losing," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "Especially when we are better than we are. Everyone, from our bullpen to our hitters, to our starters are better, so yeah, we're frustrated."

Texas' third straight loss had a familiar theme. The vaunted Rangers offense was again short-circuited, as it was baffled and bewildered by a soft-throwing opponent.

Trevor Cahill's curveball proved too much for the Rangers as they managed just one hit against him and two overall. Of the teams' 33 at-bats, manager Jeff Banister said he counted four well-struck balls.

"You can't go out of the zone and chase pitches, and that's been a tough situation for all our hitters, 1 through 9," Banister said. "It has been a challenge."

Cahill's scoreless start

The Rangers have scored but six runs in the past three games. Save for Shin-Soo Choo's seventh-inning blast, the Rangers didn't have much to show Monday.

"Really not much offense tonight," Banister said. "[Cahill] kept us off the barrel.

"You get a pitch to hit in every at-bat, and we can't miss that pitch. Or we have to put some of those breaking balls in play. There are times you sit on it and go up the middle. It's the soft contact on the pull side that is problematic. Popups out of the zone."

The Rangers, who struck out 13 times, expect to break free from their rut soon, but the last two games haven't been encouraging. In Sunday's loss to the Mariners, all three RBIs were collected on outs.

The offensive malaise has hit a lineup that is dearly missing Adrian Beltre.

"It's weird but I've been here before with other teams," Lucroy said. "You can't explain it. It's just baseball. The only positive really is we are all kind of struggling at once, so maybe we will all get hot at once and have some fun."

But there were few laughs in the Rangers' clubhouse after Texas fell to 2-6 on the trip, dropping eight of 11 and nine of 14 to fall a season-high seven games below .500.

"Obviously you press too much when things aren't going well," said Lucroy, whose average dipped to .214 after going 0-for-4. "That's human nature. But you got to fight that and you just got to keep working and hopefully the tide will turn."

"There's no doubt there is an element of frustration out there with these guys," Banister said. "I don't know if they are pressing, but there is an element of frustration with the lack of success."

Lucroy said there's no easy answers other than maintaining a simple approach. "All you can do is keep fighting and eventually it will come around," he said.

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.