It’s not time to throw dirt on all the far-fetched wild card talk, and it’s not like the Rangers are officially six-feet under, but with every loss, especially to teams like Oakland, this season is one step closer to pushing daisies.
The offensive rebirth the Rangers were enjoying on the home stand seems to have expired. Since scoring 17 runs against the Chicago White Sox—a last-place team the Rangers could only split against—the Rangers have scored two runs, one run, three runs, and now one run in six games.
Now, against another last-place team, the same old failures with runners in scoring position and not capitalizing on opportunities reared its ugly head.
At one point, the Rangers had outhit the Athletics nine to one, yet the score was tied 1-1. Weird double plays were the cause of their untimely demise. The kind of bad luck that had been good just a week ago.
They had two on in the first, with a run in and one out, when Nomar Mazara grounded into a double play to end the threat.
They got a one-out double from Rougned Odor in the third when Robinson Chirinos hit into the familiar 5-3-5 double play, made possible by Odor’s ill-advised dash to third. In his defense, he has spent so little time on the bases this season, he isn’t familiar with the concept. While his instincts told him to run, at least they had him running in the right direction, and not back to first.
The nail in the coffin double play happened in the fifth. After Drew Robinson singled with one out, Delino DeShields hit a line drive ticketed to center that was intercepted in mid-air by Athletics second baseman Jed Lowrie, who double off Robinson scampering back to first.
They couldn’t convert a two-out triple into a run in the seventh. A lead-off walk in the eighth died on the vine as well.
Athletics starter Kendall Graveman cheated death all night long, allowing base runners every inning he pitched, but escaping the hangman every time.
So, of the teams ahead of the Rangers in the wild card race, the Yankees, Royals, and Angels lost; the Mariners and Twins won. And nipping on their heels, one game behind, the Rays and Orioles won.
All this on the day the Rangers sent season ticket holders their post-season ticket request.
If nothing else will officially kill their chances, that will.
Cole Hamels (9-1, 3.42) vs. Sean Manaea (8-8, 4.58)
Game time: 3:05