SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-handed pitchers have been dominating the Rangers over the past week. During their first six games in the Bay Area, Texas is hitting .171 with a .256 slugging percentage against righties.The Rangers were 2-4 in those six games, with the two wins coming when left-handers started for the opposing team. They have struggled against Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon, Brandon McCarthy and Ryan Vogelsong. The Rangers need their left-handed hitters to get hot, and David Murphy and Mitch Moreland were both back in the lineup on Sunday against right-hander Tim Lincecum. They both sat against Vogelsong on Saturday. "We obviously haven't been playing up to our offensive capability," Murphy said. "Everybody knows you have ups and downs, but we need to change that sooner than later." Murphy has been a notorious second-half hitter. He got off to a good start this season but went into Sunday's game hitting .197 in his last 24 games. He is career .287 hitter with a .479 slugging percentage against right-handers, but he's hitting .256 with a .448 slugging percentage against them this season. "If you look at the last few seasons, I'm always up and down but always turn it on late," Murphy said. "Obviously, that needs to change. The sense of urgency is there and the mindset is there but I need to get some results going." Moreland is hitting .302 with a .560 slugging percentage against right-handers this season but, with no designated hitter in the National League city, he did not start in the first two games against the Giants. Michael Young was at first base before getting the day off on Sunday. Moreland did pinch-hit in the eighth inning and broke up Vogelsong's shutout with a home run that landed in the waters of McCovey Cove well beyond the right-field wall. He still has just four hits in his last 27 at-bats. "I feel good," Moreland said. "I just have to keep going up there, grind out at-bats and put something together."
Ogando to undergo MRI, could land on DL
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rangers could have to put another pitcher on the disabled list. Alexi Ogando had to come out of Sunday's start against the Giants after three innings with a strained right groin.Ogando will undergo an MRI on Monday in Texas, but the prognosis after Sunday's 5-0 victory over the Giants was not good. "Right now it feels pretty bad," Ogando said. "Tomorrow I'll get an MRI, but right now it doesn't feel good." The Rangers already have Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland on the disabled list. Ogando, who had been pitching out of the bullpen, was starting on Sunday because Holland was placed on the disabled list Thursday due to a stomach virus. "I feel bad, we need pitching right now ... the state we're in," Ogando said. "These are the kind of things that happen in baseball."
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
Ogando's next start is scheduled for Saturday against the Astros. If he can't go, the Rangers could either call up Michael Kirkman from Triple-A Round Rock or bring Robbie Ross out of the bullpen. Ross threw 45 pitches over four innings on Sunday."We've got contingency plans," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We'll sit down and talk about it. I can't give you and answer right now." Roy Oswalt, who signed with the Rangers two weeks ago, is not likely an option. He is expected to make his third start in the Minors on Tuesday in Frisco. The Rangers decided on Sunday to have him pitch there rather than for Round Rock in Albuquerque. Ogando, who retired all nine hitters he faced, did not hurt himself pitching. He hurt himself beating out a sacrifice bunt for a single while batting in the top of the fourth. Ogando came to the plate after Mitch Moreland and Craig reached on consecutive one-out singles. Ogando pushed a bunt between third baseman Pablo Sandoval and pitcher Tim Linceum that neither could field. Ogando beat it without a throw but still came up injured. "When the ball got past the pitcher, I sped up to beat it out and felt it midway," Ogando said. Matt Harrison, who started Friday's game, went in to pinch-run for him. After Ian Kinsler's double gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead, Ross took over on the mound. "We just have to wait and see what the doctor says," Washington said. "He wanted to stay out there but we weren't taking any chances."
Sore Achilles heel keeps Cruz out of finale
SAN FRANCISCO -- Nelson Cruz tried a new style of shoes on Thursday in Oakland. He ended up with a sore right Achilles heel and was out of the lineup on Sunday against the Giants. He was available to pinch-hit."I don't why he decided to do that," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He should be fine." Cruz went back to his old shoes on Saturday but still had to come out of the game when the heel started to tighten up on him. "I think it should be fine in one or two days," Cruz said. "I started to feel it the last day in Oakland. I played through it the first game here [on Friday] and didn't think it was bad. Yesterday it got worse. I felt good today when I woke up today." Michael Young also got a day off after starting two games at first base. With no designated hitter at the National League park, Mitch Moreland started at first base on Sunday. "I just didn't want to sit on Moreland for three days," Washington said. "I did that in Houston [last month] and didn't want to do it here. Michael can have today, we're off tomorrow, that gives him back-to-back days and he'll be re-energized."
Darvish works on throwing strikes in 'pen session
SAN FRANCISCO -- Yu Darvish threw the first of two bullpen sessions on Sunday. He will have a second one either Tuesday or Wednesday in preparation for his next start on Friday against the Astros.The Rangers pushed Darvish back three days in the rotation to give him extra rest. It also gives him an extra session in the bullpen to work on some things. Pitching coach Mike Maddux said the goal on Sunday was to work on throwing strikes. "It's that simple," Maddux said. "His good games ... he doesn't give up many hits. His batting average against is really good. We just can't let one hit give up three runs. He has such good swing-and-miss stuff, we just have to get him in counts where they have to swing." Darvish, who threw 27 pitches in his bullpen, has allowed 8.17 hits per nine innings, the 15th-best ratio in the American League. But his 5.45 walks per nine innings is the third highest. He also averages 9.54 strikeouts per nine innings, third highest in the league. But his 1.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranks 40th among 51 qualifying pitchers. Colby Lewis ranks No. 1 with 6.7 strikeouts per walk.
Washington on a week in San Francisco: "It's a lively town, the rooms are nice but the food is just expensive." Moreland's home run on Sunday was the fourth by a Rangers pinch-hitter this year. All other AL teams have a combined five pinch-hit home runs. From 2008-11, Texas had just two pinch-hit homers. Moreland was the 34th player to hit a home run into the waters of McCovey Cove, including the 19th by an opponent. It has been done 61 times by the Giants, including 38 times by Barry Bonds.
The Rangers have decided that Roy Oswalt will pitch Tuesday at Double-A Frisco against Midland instead of Triple-A Round Rock at Albuquerque.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.