Rangers lose sixth straight contest
After jumping out to lead, Rangers offense cools down
DETROIT -- The Rangers started the night with a 5-0 lead and ended it with their worst loss in seven years, their pitching staff in disarray and their losing streak now at six games.Now Luis Mendoza is likely headed for the disabled list with a sore shoulder that he only told pitching coach Mark Connor about after his abbreviated outing Wednesday night. Both Connor and manager Ron Washington were fuming after the Rangers went down for the 11th time in their last 13 games with a 19-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Wednesday night. Connor wasn't happy with Mendoza. Washington was upset with pitching in general after the Rangers gave up the most runs in a game since an identical 19-6 loss to the Tigers on Aug. 8, 2001. "Our pitchers took a beating," Washington said. "A serious beating. We put too many guys on base, we couldn't throw the ball over the plate and when we did, they hit it. We took a beating." Only closer C.J. Wilson, who retired the side in order in the ninth, saved the Rangers from giving up 20 runs. When it was over, Rangers pitchers threw a total of 214 pitches in the game after allowing 14 hits, 10 walks and two hit batters. "It's terrible," Connor said. "There's nothing else you can say." During the six-game losing streak, Rangers pitchers have allowed 59 runs on 70 hits and 39 walks in 48 innings. In those 48 innings they have thrown 1,008 pitches. In each of the past three games their starter has been unable to go more than three innings, forcing seven relievers to throw a staggering combined 315 pitches. "Our bullpen is shot," Connor said. The Rangers are bringing up Scott Feldman from Double-A Frisco to start on Thursday, but it's likely they'll have to add a reliever too. One possibility is activating Eddie Guardado off the disabled list. They have to do something. Josh Rupe, Wes Littleton and Frank Francisco at least are likely unavailable on Thursday. "We're going to talk about it," Washington said. The likely move is to put Mendoza on the disabled list, although the Rangers are still digesting the news that his shoulder is bothering him. Connor suspected something has been wrong, but Mendoza didn't confess until after he came out of Wednesday's start. "I had to drag it out of him," Connor said. "I've been doing this 20 years and I can tell you I'm not seeing the guy that I saw last year or the guy I saw early in Spring Training. I've been asking him off and on the past couple of weeks if anything has been bothering him and he said, 'No.'" Mendoza said the shoulder started bothering him after Friday's start in Boston when he gave up seven runs in three innings. "When I warm up, it's good but when I'm out there it's weak," Mendoza said. "I'm worried about it. I've never had an injury before. I'm wondering what's going on." The Rangers would have preferred to know before Wednesday night. "He's a good kid with a great future, but he's got to protect his career and he's got to protect the ballclub," Connor said. "He put us in a bad position. He's too valuable to the organization. He has to learn to be honest." The Rangers gave Mendoza a 5-0 lead in the first inning and a half against starter Kenny Rogers. Both Ian Kinsler and Michael Young had two hits each in the first two innings, but their work went for naught. The lead was gone by the bottom of the second. Mendoza walked Miguel Cabrera to start the inning, then gave up three straight singles to Jacque Jones, Edgar Renteria and Brandon Inge. That chased home one run and two more scored when first baseman Jason Botts let Ramon Santiago's grounder get past him for an error. With runners on second and third, Mendoza did get Curtis Granderson on a grounder to first and struck out Ivan Rodriguez. But Carlos Guillen lined a two-run single to right to tie the game and end Mendoza's night. It's probably going to be a while before he pitches for the Rangers again. "We'll get him evaluated and we'll see," Connor said. Francisco took over and the game was close for five innings. The Rangers trailed 7-6 going into the seventh, then at that point their pitching staff just seemed to hit empty. The Tigers scored 11 runs off of Jamey Wright and Littleton, two relievers who were pitching quite effectively at the beginning of the road trip. That seems a long time ago.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.