close
close

With another loss, the Texas Rangers hit the lowest point of the Bruce Bochy era

PHILADELPHIA — They’re losers.

For the first time under Bruce Bochy, this isn’t just a passionate venting from fans, but a fact about the Rangers. Everything else remained practically the same. The starting pitcher did a good job. Half the bullpen collapsed. The offensive remained in a fog. It all added up to another loss for the Rangers, this time 5-2 to Philadelphia.

It was the Rangers’ third loss in four games, eighth in the last 10 and, most importantly, dropped them to 24-25. It is the first time they have had a losing record since the end of the forgettable 2022 season. Or put another way: before Bochy.

A year ago, the Texas Rangers had the best lineup in the American League. What happens in 2024?

The future Hall of Fame manager, out of the game for three years, took over the Rangers in October 2022 after the club posted its sixth consecutive losing season. He didn’t lose again. The Rangers swept their first series with him to start the 2023 season, against these Phillies, and never looked back en route to their first World Series victory.

However, it’s time we stopped talking about that World Series victory. It’s the distant past now. The celebrations are over. The task at hand is to pursue another playoff run. It’s what all the cool teams in town do these days, you know? Nearly a third of the way through the season, the Rangers don’t look like a playoff team.

“Even with the adversity we’ve faced, the expectation is that we’re going to go out and win,” general manager Chris Young said Tuesday afternoon. “My expectation is that we begin to take advantage of our capabilities. In the last few weeks, I don’t think we’ve fully done that. “This team is good enough for us to win.”

Sure, they’ve been decimated by injuries. And speaking of which, Jon Gray, their most effective starter this season, left after five innings Tuesday with what was described as a “little groin strain.” He will undergo an MRI on Wednesday, but he said he was confident he wouldn’t miss any outings.

Of course, the Rangers will make the final decision. Nathan Eovaldi exited with some groin tightness three weeks ago and remains on the injured list.

Texas Rangers slowly but surely build their way back to full pitching rotation

“I think we’re on top,” said Gray, who was hit by a comeback inside his left leg early in the game. “The important thing was not to exaggerate. I thought maybe he had overcompensated a little bit because of the leg and maybe that was it, but I don’t think there’s anything crazy going on.”

The Rangers would like a little madness. At least when it comes to crime. It’s been consistently boring. Tuesday was the fourth consecutive game in which the Rangers scored three or fewer runs. It was the 23rd time in 49 games this season; that’s a pace for 76 games of this type.

Tuesday’s highlights: Call-up Derek Hill reached base three times in his Rangers debut and Corey Seager hit a ball into a plate of nachos in the right-field bleachers that eventually turned into a solo home run after being initially declared in play. Upon review, the umpires were apparently told, “If the ball hits the cheese, you should let it go.”

Or something like that.

It was also the only time Seager made contact on Tuesday. He struck out in his first three at-bats and struck out to end the game against left-hander José Alvarado. It was Seager’s second four-strikeout game of the season, doubling his previous career total. He also struck out in the third after Marcus Semien’s double scored Hill with the Rangers’ first run.

The Rangers were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday. Since leaving Oakland five games above .500 at 22-17 on May 8, they are 9 for 59 (.152) with runners in scoring position.

“I thought we had some pretty good at-bats,” Bochy said. “We just couldn’t make the big splash to put a crooked number on the board. They fought until the end. We had the right guys in the ninth.”

This year, the “right” guys have simply been wrong more often than not. And because of that, the Rangers went to bed Tuesday as something they hadn’t been for quite some time: losers.

Twitter: @Evan_P_Grant