The Dallas Morning News
Offense fizzles out in crucial opportunities
Bats come up silent as Rangers whiff 15 times; Foltynewicz is hit hard
ARLINGTON — At two points late in Texas’ 5-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, the Rangers got the tying run up without having to do much.
In the seventh inning, it was a hit-by-pitch and an infield single. In the ninth, it was an error and another infield single.
The Rangers had spent the last three nights putting together a highlight reel of clutch hitting. Against the defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays, on the road.
This time, that big hit never came. The Rangers eked out just four hits. Two homers and two squeaker singles. Texas dropped to 6-8 on the season and had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Mike Foltynewicz was hit hard, allowing five runs in five innings. The Orioles struck for all of their hits against him. He was followed by three perfect innings from Kolby Allard and a 12-3 ninth from Brett Martin.
The offense couldn’t continue a stretch that saw it knock in 19 runs over the last three games. The Rangers struck out 15 times on Friday and walked once.
“I felt good the whole game, even through the fifth inning,” Foltynewicz said. “It’s a little discouraging, when you have your best stuff out there and you get hit around a little bit.”
The team wears its red jerseys on Friday nights at home. Last week, the Rangers didn’t produce any hits. This Friday, it took until the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning for a knock.
“I don’t know if it’s getting in late [last night], who knows,” manager Chris Woodward said. “I’m not going to make excuses
for our guys. We’ve got to be better. That’s baseball, that’s professional baseball, you’re going to have to deal with stuff like that.”
That first knock was a home run from David Dahl. Perhaps excited to finally use speakers, the public address system operators started the home run music while the ball was still mid-flight.
They got to play it again a minute later after Nick Solak hit an opposite-field shot that snuck a couple feet beyond the right field wall.
That all made for a fleeting moment of offensive fortitude, surrounded, though, by eight other innings of ineptitude.
The only other hits came in those aforementioned two-out rallies. Jose Trevino legged out a softer grounder up the middle. And Solak finished off a 2-for-3 night with a dribbler up the third-base line.
The Rangers entered the second game of the series against the Rays having been shut out in three-of-four games. But guys like Solak, Charlie Culberson and Adolis Garcia in particular got the team back on track.
Garcia, in this game, was 0of-4 with three strikeouts. The top four in the Rangers order didn’t get a hit.
Then it was the bottom of the order that came up empty when it mattered most. Woodward elected not to pinch-hit the struggling Anderson Tejeda with two on in the seventh inning, favoring the lefty-righty matchup against former Rangers 2015 top draft pick Dillon Tate.
Tejeda struck out for the 10th time in 16 at-bats this season. Then the red-hot Trevino struck out to end the game with the tying runs on base.
“I wasn’t going to pinch-hit him right there,” Woodward said. “I thought it was a decent matchup for him."
If there’s something the last week has taught the Rangers, it’s that there’s a wide range of what this team will do on any given night. It was just a week ago that Texas could only muster a single baserunner.
Still, it entered this game feeling as good as it had all season. Orioles starter Jorge Lopez been miserable in his first two starts, allowing four runs in 42⁄3 innings to the Yankees, and then seven runs in four innings against Boston.
At times, he made the Rangers competitive offensive lineup look completely lost at the plate.
“I felt like that guy came at us and attacked us, and we just didn’t attack back,” Woodward said. “That’s what it looked like. A lot of called third strikes, a lot of chasing at the top of the zone. We didn’t really have tough at-bats.”