An exercise in futility: Rangers’ silent bats, offensive woes have put them on the offseason’s doorstep

Staff Photographer

Texas Rangers right fielder Nomar Mazara (30) is called out on strikes in the second inning during the Toronto Blue Jays vs. the Texas Rangers major league baseball ALDS Game 2 at Globe Life Park in Arlington,Texas on Friday, October 7, 2016. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

By Evan Grant, Staff Writer

ARLINGTON — Rougned Odor spoke for the Rangers offense.

Odor said nothing at all.

And that said it all.

The Rangers have done nothing offensively in the first two games of the Division Series and have fallen to the precipice of elimination. On Friday, they managed to grind 13 hits and 16 base runners into a pile of pulp in losing 5-3 to Toronto. They did, however, set a club postseason record. For futility. They left 13 runners stranded, eclipsing the mark they set in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series. And, that didn’t work out all that well either.

Odor got the Rangers started on the way to the record, bouncing out with two runners on to end the first inning. He also came to the plate in the ninth inning as the potential tying run and struck out against Roberto Osuna and — dare we say it? — was overpowered by a 96 mph Osuna fastball down the middle.

So, afterward, he sat hunched over at his locker, thumbing through his phone with a scowl on his face. He declined to discuss his performance, leaving it to more experienced players to explain the wasted chances.

“We had plenty of chances to score some runs, and we didn’t come through,” Adrian Beltre said. “Almost every inning we had two men on base, guys in scoring position. We couldn’t find a way to get them in. We got a couple hits but not enough.”

A couple? They got 13. Only twice before have they had more in a postseason game. But only three were for extra bases, and all three of them with nobody on. They had 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position, tied for the most they’ve ever had in a postseason game, and managed just a pair of singles.

Here’s the thing: It’s not just a game; it’s a trend.

The Rangers didn’t have many opportunities in the series opener, but are now 4 for 36 with runners in scoring position against Toronto in losing five consecutive playoff games over the last two seasons.

“We are not getting the hits to keep the rallies going,” Carlos Beltran said.

Beltran was as guilty as anybody. He entered the game with 10 hits, including three homers, in 32 career at-bats (.313) against Toronto’s J.A. Happ. He came to the plate in the fourth with a run already in following three consecutive two-out singles. He promptly bounced out to first. He also struck out against Osuna to end the eighth with a man on base.

A home run would have tied the game. The same could be said about Odor’s at-bat in the ninth. Perhaps that is where one of the Rangers’ issues lies. The home run has become null in their postseason offense. Toronto, meanwhile, has churned out walks and homers.

The Jays’ first runs Friday came on a home run by Troy Tulowitzki after a walk of Jose Bautista. It was the first of four homers. In the teams’ last five postseason meetings, the Blue Jays have 19 walks and 12 home runs. The Rangers have 12 runs and one homer. Toronto has won all five games.

Perhaps it was telling that before the series started, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was asked how important it was to be able to manufacture runs in the postseason.

He responded by pointing out that Toronto had scored all its runs in the wild-card game on homers.

“I think home runs win games,” he said.

The lack of them — and of any discernible offense — puts the Rangers on the verge of losing a series. Again.


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