Back to playing above-.500 competition, the Rangers looked every bit the below-.500 team.
The Tampa Bay Rays have been one of the top three teams in the American League since the All-Star break, mainly on the strength of their pitching.
Last night, the Rangers once again let their talent gap show with a punchless two-hit performance.
They threatened in the first with a walk and a hit batter. And again in the sixth with a walk and a single. But those threats died on the vine and the Rangers went down with a whimper.
While the Rangers didn’t generate much offense, at least Adrian Sampson generated some optimism.
In one of the longest outings of the season for a Rangers starting pitcher, Sampson hurled 5.1 innings of solid pitching. After the Rays led off with three straight singles to score their first run, Sampson settled in and allowed just one run after that.
He wasn’t brilliant. But on this staff, trying desperately to fill so many holes for next year, solid is quite acceptable.
That his team behind him couldn’t support him didn’t matter. It’s not about winning right now with the Rangers. It really never was this season. It’s about finding answers.
There are so many questions.
Blake Snell (19-5, 2.03) vs. Yovani Gallardo (8-5, 6.67)
Game time: 7:05