Once again the Rangers find themselves amidst a terrible losing streak, as they fell 5-2 to the Los Angeles Angels for their seventh consecutive loss.
The Rangers took an early 2-0 lead in the second, where the bottom of the order took brief control of the game. Carlos Pena lead off with a double, and Robinson Chirinos was hit by a pitch to put two men on for Rougned Odor. A double from Odor scored Pena for the first run, and Shin-Soo Choo grounded out, but scored Chirinos in the process. After the second, the Rangers offense would fizzle out scoring no more runs.
Los Angeles responded in the third with a run of their own, as Hank Conger reached base on an error by Carlos Pena, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Albert Pujols.
Texas held the lead until the sixth inning, where the Angels first tied the game, and then took the ultimate lead. Pujols and Josh Hamilton hit back-to-back singles to start the game, and were brought home on back-to-back singles by Howie Kendrick and David Freese. Conger doubled to score Kendrick and Freese for the final two runs of the inning, and was caught trying to take third in the process.
Starting Miles Mikolas had made a lot of progress since his last start, and went into the sixth with the lead. Manager Ron Washington believed that Mikolas would be able to get out of the sixth without allowing serious damage to occur, and Mikolas hoped the same.
“My goal is to keep our team in the game and to go longer” said Mikolas. “Defense did a great job for me tonight and I’ve got to do a better job of holding that lead for them.”
Mikolas was making his third career start Saturday night, and is still trying to grow accustomed to his new role on the team. In the beginning, Mikolas started strong against a team that had never seen him pitch. Unfortunately for Mikolas, the Angels offense was too strong the third time around, once they had gotten a taste of Mikolas’ repertoire.
“I’ve got to make better pitches with those guys on base” said Mikolas. “I left some pitches up in the zone, and this is a team that doesn’t miss those pitches.
The Rangers have lost 21 of their last 24 games, and have struggled to connect as a whole. It seems that when the offense is hot, the pitching isn’t and vice versa. The season may seem completely lost, and as far as the standings are concerned, it is. However, the many young guys who are earning playing time, Rougned Odor and Jake Smolinski for example, are making mistakes now that will pay off eventually.
“We’re in a teaching mode” said Washington. “A lot of things you don’t know about until they happen, and then you start teaching. The game of baseball will bring it all back around, and you want to learn from it.”
Scott Baker takes the mound for the Rangers Sunday as they look to win at least one game before heading to the all-star break. Game time is slated for 2:05 p.m. CT.