Rangers see postseason hopes come to end

Rocky 5-game stretch at critical time too much for club to overcome

Rangers see postseason hopes come to end

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers appear to be out of gas, and were officially eliminated from the postseason on Tuesday night.

That had grown apparent over the past few days and confirmed without question in a 14-3 loss to the Astros at Globe Life Park. The Rangers were technically eliminated before their game ended, when the Twins beat the Indians in Cleveland.

"We're obviously disappointed," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "We knew we had a shot and we played pretty well down the stretch until the last week. But this ballclub gave everything it had."

The Rangers' exit was really decided by five consecutive losses, beginning with the sweep by the Athletics over the weekend and ending with two home losses to the Astros. The Rangers mustered seven runs in five games while allowing 38.

"It's tough anytime you set out for a season and have expectations for yourself," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "To be at this point of the season, obviously it doesn't feel good. It's not how we wanted to move into this portion of the season. There is no head down, feel sorry like that. That's not this team, that's not how we roll. Yeah, it doesn't feel good."

Banister reflects on the season

All of this came after a three-game sweep of the Mariners in Seattle that left them 2 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot as of Friday morning. But as was the case for the Rangers all year, they couldn't sustain their success over a significant length of time.

This is a team that ripped off a 10-game winning streak in May to go to a season-high three games over .500, only to lose 12 of its last 16 games. The Rangers were 71-69 after beating the Yankees, 11-5, on Sept. 8, but have since lost 12 of their last 17.

"It boils down to playing complete baseball really through stretches," Banister said. "There were times to be able to put all facets of the game together consistently, and there were times we were challenged by that."

Any chance of the Rangers creating any last-minute drama in the final week evaporated quickly in the first inning. The first five Astros reached against starter Cole Hamels and Houston ended up scoring four runs.

Hamels allowed six runs in three-plus innings, his second-shortest outing of his 67 starts with the Rangers. By the end of the sixth inning, the Astros led, 14-2, and the managers started substituting like it was a Spring Training game.

"There was a lot of energy spent to get to where we got to," Banister said. "There are a lot of guys out on the field trying to get us to the point where we needed to go to. There are a number of guys moving around that field, kind of where their gas tank is at right now. It has been a tough stretch for a number of these guys, not necessarily on the production side, but the physical side. We got a number of guys, these guys are trying to fight through it."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.