The Rangers losing streak has hit eight games, as they were swept by the Detroit Tigers with a 6-0 loss Thursday night.
After allowing singles to Nick Castellanos and Austin Avila, Nick Martinez walked Ian Kinsler to load the bases in the second. Martinez then walked Torii Hunter, forcing Castellanos home and giving Detroit their first run of the day.
Martinez started the third inning by walking Victor Martinez, and then gave up a double to Castellanos. Austin Jackson hit a single to score the pair, giving Detroit another two runs. Martinez walked the next two batters he faced, Avila and Eugenio Suarez, and was replaced by Scott Baker. Kinsler hit a single off Baker to score Jackson, bringing the Tigers lead to 4-0 in the third.
“It was just one of those days where I couldn’t find it” said Martinez. “I didn’t feel like I was nibbling out there, but in hindsight it’s probably what happened. Fastball command, if you don’t have that it’s going to hurt you.”
In his last performance, Martinez threw five perfect innings. Tonight, he walked a career high five batters while last only two and a third innings. Consistency has been Martinez’s biggest struggle this year, as he’s struggled with uncertainty on the mound. However, Martinez is also a 23 year-old rookie, and would likely not be in the rotation if not for the mass amount of injuries that have plagued the Rangers this season. Each game is a learning experience for him, and will likely pay off in the long run.
“When you’re talking about a kid who just got out of A ball and was supposed to start in Double-A” said manager Ron Washington. “When it got out of control he just couldn’t stop it. Couldn’t find the strike zone, and it ended up biting him.”
Detroit tacked on an additional run in the fourth, when back-to-back singles from Cabrera and V.Martinez, where followed by a sacrifice fly by J.D. Martinez, scoring Cabrera. Their final run came in the sixth, as Kinsler singled and then scored on a double from Cabrera.
After Martinez exited the game, Baker was able to pitch for the remaining 6.2 innings, allowing two runs. Baker’s outing was longer than most Rangers’ starters have been recently, and makes you wonder if he deserves a spot in the rotation. Though Baker’s performance wasn’t game saving, or really crucial at all, it did allow a strained bullpen to gain some much needed rest.
“Tremendous job. He came in and did what he’s been doing all year. We’ve been having trouble getting through the early innings. He comes in and bridges the gap, kept the bullpen out of the game.”
Tigers starter Rick Porcello earned a complete game shutout against the Rangers, allowing only three hits. It was the fourth time the Rangers have been shutout this season, and finalized a sweep. This coming after a sweep in Los Angeles, as the Rangers find themselves amidst their first eight game losing streak since 2005.
“We have to execute” said Elvis Andrus. “Turn the page and keep playing baseball. We’re going through a tough time right now, and the only way we’re going to get out of there is playing hard.”
Nick Tepesch takes the mound for the Rangers Friday, in the first game of a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins. Game time is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT.