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04/08/10 7:38 PM ET
Sluggish offense hurting Rangers
Lack of plate production evident in loss to Jays
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- A two-man offense might work well in basketball with the pick-and-roll or in football on an option read from the Wildcat formation. But it's not doing the Rangers much good. They could use more than just Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz right now. Those are the only two who have had more than fleeting success at the plate over the first three games for the Rangers. The Rangers are hitting .168 after three games and most of that is coming from Guerrero and Cruz. "Everybody else will fall in place," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays. "It's only three ballgames. We'll put it together. I have no doubt we'll put it together." The Rangers are 16-for-95 through their first three games with five doubles and three home runs. Cruz is 4-for-10 with two doubles and two home runs. Guerrero is 7-for-11 with the Rangers' other home run. The rest of the Rangers are 5-for-74 with three doubles. That's a .068 batting average. The Rangers, including Cruz and Guerrero, are also hitting .182 (4-for-22) with runners in scoring position through the first three games. "They pitched well," third baseman Michael Young said. "But we've got to do a better job of getting better pitches to hit. We were over-aggressive. You want to come out of the gate swinging the bat but you've got to stick to your game plan and trust your approach. We're a young team, but we're getting better." The Rangers could use Ian Kinsler but he's on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle and that situation is not improving. Instead he had a second cortisone injection in the ankle on Thursday and that will keep him from doing anything for at least 48 hours. The Rangers embark on a nine-game roadtrip on Monday and the chances of Kinsler playing in any of those games are growing dim. There should be plenty of firepower in Kinsler's absence but it hasn't shown up yet. Young and Josh Hamilton are a combined 1-for-18. Julio Borbon is 0-for-12 in the leadoff spot, including 0-for-8 against left-handers. The Rangers face another left-hander on Friday when they go against the Mariners' Jason Vargas. "He's fighting his way through things," Washington said. "We believe in Borbon. He'll get it going and when he does, it will come in bunches." Guerrero is the only one getting hits in bunches. He has three straight multi-hit games to start the season. The only longer such streak is the five straight multi-hit games that Pete O'Brien had to start the 1988 season. But Guerrero is not without blame when it comes to the Rangers' problems. In a scoreless game on Thursday, Guerrero came to bat in the sixth inning with two out and Young on first base, and lined a single to left-center. Young went to third on the play and when the throw from left fielder Travis Snider went there as well, Guerrero ill-advisedly tried to bolt for second. Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion threw him out and the inning was over. That denied Cruz a chance to hit with two runners on base. The Rangers offense can't afford to give away outs right now when one of their only two hitters is at the plate.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.