ARLINGTON -- Rarely is two earned runs allowed in seven-and-a-third innings of work a body of work that pegs a starting pitcher with a loss. But that was the case for the Rangers’ Derek Holland Thursday afternoon.
Because you need to score to win. And Thursday, the Rangers didn’t in a 2-0 loss at the hands of the New York Yankees.
The Rangers advanced a runner past second base just once in the game. That came in the sixth inning, in which Ian Kinsler hit a leadoff single. Kinsler was caught stealing before Elvis Andrus reached on an infield single and Nelson Cruz walked. But a fly-out by Adrian Beltre and a frozen rope by A.J. Pierzynski into the glove of Vernon Wells were not enough to bring a run home.
The bats were not able to support a quality start by Holland.
Manager Ron Washington said after Wednesday’s game that Matt Garza was pounding the strike zone “with a vengeance.”
If that was true of Garza and his strike percentage of just under 70 percent, then Holland had an even greater vengeance against the strike zone Thursday.
Holland threw 69 strikes on 92 pitches (75 percent) in his seven-and-a-third innings of work, including an impressive 26-of-30 first pitch strike ratio.
Holland escaped a jam in the seventh inning after a David Adams single and an Austin Romine ground-rule double put runners on second and third. Romine’s shot to center was a break for Holland and the Rangers, as Adams would’ve easily scored on a ball to the deepest part of the part with two outs.
So there it stood, still 1-0 in favor of New York as the seventh inning passed. The Yankees added an insurance run on a fielder’s choice ground ball hit too slowly for the Rangers to complete a double play, despite a lightning-quick turn by Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar.
Then the eighth inning came and went, a line of eight zeros displayed on the video board next to the “TEX” abbreviation.
And any time you’re facing the Yankees, as it has been since 1997 when no. 42 took over as the closer, a deficit after eight innings is an all-but-guaranteed loss.
Thursday’s game was no different, as The Sandman recorded save no. 33 of 2013.
With the arrival of Garza earlier in the week satisfying the need for a solid arm in the rotation, one concern looms for this Ranger club. With continuing struggles at the plate, they need another bat.
Texas hasn’t scored more than four runs since July 13, which is not a trend that will yield favorable results in a run for the postseason.
So where will the offense come from?
They have pieces in the lineup now that are capable of providing a spark. Adrian Beltre and Ian Kinsler have proven pedigree as all-around hitters. Young guys like Leonys Martin and Engel Beltre have shown signs of being promising, talented hitters.
And the Rangers can keep their fingers crossed with Nelson Cruz, in the wake of Ryan Braun’s 65-game suspension and an ongoing A-Rod saga surrounding the Biogenesis scandal.
The day may come soon where Rangers fans will see “Manny being Manny” in Texas. Albeit a Manny with shorter hair and tighter pants, he may be counted on for help at the plate.
Whether it’s Manny Ramirez or another trade dealing move by Jon Daniels, the Rangers need to find some offense.
The odds are against them if they can’t score.