09/23/12 5:09 PM ET
Rangers not revealing any plans for playoffs
By John Hickey / MLB.com
Well, yes. And no.
Manager Ron Washington said before Sunday's series finale in Seattle that he and pitching coach Mike Maddux are playing around with ideas for the Rangers as they look forward to the possibility of playing in October.
Further than that, Washington isn't ready to go.
"Behind the scenes, we are doing things," Washington said. "But I just can't give it out. That would be a bad omen. We know what we would like to do, but we can't come out and openly say it. When it looks like we're going to be in the postseason, we can talk about it then.
"Players say they don't read, but they do. They know what's written. The leader has to be mentally tough. That's me. If I start talking about the playoffs and playoff position, their focus is going to go away from the games."
And Washington is all about focusing on today. So much so that when he was asked about the series against second-place Oakland coming on Monday in Arlington, he wouldn't touch it.
"I can't get past Seattle," he said. "I want to win. I want to whip their butts today. You can ask me about Oakland after the game."
Hamilton's return from sinus issue uncertain
SEATTLE -- It could be a while before the Rangers see Josh Hamilton back in the outfield.
Plagued by vision issues from a sinus problem, Hamilton left the team after the series in Anaheim and is back in the Metroplex. And while it is possible that he could be in the starting lineup Monday against the A's, manager Ron Washington frankly admitted he had no idea if that would actually happen.
"I don't know [if he will play Monday]," Washington said. "When we get back, we'll see how he is."
The Rangers have missed Hamilton's bat the first two games in Seattle, scoring three runs Friday and getting shut out in a 1-0 loss to former Rangers farmhand Blake Beavan on Saturday.
And while the Rangers have plenty of quality bats to fill a lineup without Hamilton, there is a certain special something that Texas misses when he's not in there.
"Without him in there, we get pitched differently," Washington said. "Pitchers are always aware of where he is in the lineup. And he puts more stress on them when he walks to the plate. Having him out of the lineup makes a big difference."
Hamilton has a couple more medical appointments in the next two days, so while it's possible that he could play Monday, it's equally possible that he won't be back in his normal spot until Wednesday or Thursday.
Washington sees missed chances in Seattle
SEATTLE -- It's easy to look at the first two games of the Seattle series, both losses, and to say that the Rangers' offensive thunder came up short.
That's not the way manager Ron Washington sees it, however. He said it was all about execution -- or lack of it.
He points to Nelson Cruz getting thrown out at home plate in the fourth inning Saturday and with the Rangers getting leadoff doubles from Cruz in the second inning and Mitch Moreland in the eighth inning and not getting the runner to third base either time.
Cruz, who has a history of leg issues, lost stride going around second base and should have been held up at third base by coach Dave Anderson. Instead, Mariners right fielder Casper Wells got a clean hop off the wall, threw a strike to second baseman Kyle Seager and Seager got the ball to catcher Jesus Montero with time to spare.
On the Cruz leadoff double, David Murphy didn't move him over. If he had, Mike Napoli's subsequent fly ball would have been deep enough for a sacrifice fly. The Moreland double in the eighth was followed by a walk to Craig Gentry, but Ian Kinsler, who generally has no trouble bunting, couldn't get the ball down and struck out. That meant that a deep-enough fly ball from Elvis Andrus went to waste.
"It's all about execution at this time of the season," Washington said. "I told these guys at the start of this last stretch we're going to see good pitching in our division every day. Now it's not about our stats. It's about executing when you have the chance.
"That means [Cruz] stopping at third. That means getting the two sacrifice flies that could have won the game for us yesterday. From here on out, we've got to execute better."
Third baseman Adrian Beltre was in the lineup for a second straight day after missing Friday's series opener with gastrointestinal issues. Asked about how his stomach was feeling before Sunday's game, Beltre said, "It's hanging in there."
When Nelson Cruz doubled in the second inning Saturday, it got him to 40 doubles for the season and gave the Rangers two 40-doubles hitters, Cruz and Ian Kinsler. No other team in the big leagues has two players with 40 or more doubles.
Every strikeout for Rangers pitchers the rest of the season will set a new club record. Texas came into Sunday with a collective total of 1,181 strikeouts for the season, matching the club record set in 2010. Ranger starters have struck out 797, one shy of the team record for strikeouts by starters set in 2011.
John Hickey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.