February 2, 2023

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Texas aims to clean up defense

3 min read
Rangers commit season-high 4 errors in lopsided loss
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ARLINGTON — The Rangers’ margin for error has not been particularly large throughout the early 2022 season, but it was never more apparent than Wednesday night. 

It was an ugly night at Globe Life Field as the Rangers fell, 8-2, to the Royals amid multiple defensive miscues and a continuously inconsistent offense.

“There wasn’t much good,” manager Chris Woodward said. “There were a couple guys that pitched OK, but it was super sloppy. Even yesterday in the seventh inning [there were fielding errors]. … It was one that you have to kind of just flush and get back to the drawing board. We’ve got to play better than that. Hopefully, we don’t play like that very often because that’s unacceptable in the big leagues.”

It almost felt like the 2021 Rangers, who lost 102 games last season. There was poor offensive execution, four defensive errors, a bullpen game gone wrong and countless other miscues that won’t show up in the box score. 

But in 2021, the Rangers had youth to fall back on. It wasn’t an excuse, but it was a fact. This season, Texas has a veteran presence up the middle and at various parts of the lineup that should be a driving force in the clubhouse.

The fielding errors were perhaps the most mind-boggling for a team that prides itself on playing clean baseball. The Rangers’ four errors were the most since they recorded five on Sept. 1 of last season against the Rockies. Texas now has six errors through the two games against the Royals and nine in the last five games after recording just two errors in the previous 13 games.

“It’s more on the defensive side,” Woodward said of the struggles. “Hitting is hard, but we’re going to improve offensively. I fully believe that. But the handling of baseball, that’s what we do every day. That’s something that’s required on a daily basis, especially to the extent that it’s been the last two nights where there were multiple mistakes. We’ve just got to clean all that up. I know they’re putting the work in, but it comes down to between the lines. We’ve got to get better.”

The Rangers’ lone runs came off of solo homers from Brad Miller and Corey Seager, but the offense was otherwise ineffective. Even though the score was close until the top of the ninth inning, it never felt like the Rangers had much of a chance.

While the Royals’ offense consistently threatened and tacked on hits, Texas couldn’t string anything together. Seager’s home run was his third in the past two games, but Woodward said for the most part, quality at-bats were “nowhere to be found.”

“Credit to them, they pitched pretty good, but just no pressure [from our end]. And when we did put pressure, we just weren’t able to have a good at-bat continuously,” Woodward said. “If you play like that, you’re not going to win many games.”

Despite all of that, second baseman Marcus Semien believes the Rangers were playing good baseball coming into the day. Texas had won five of its last eight games entering the matchup with the Royals.

Semien emphasized that there’s no panic in the clubhouse, particularly from himself as he rides through an 0-for-16 stretch dating back to Sunday’s doubleheader against the Yankees.

“I’m actually not feeling bad, there’s just nothing to show for it,” Semien said of his own slump. “I had a decent start to the road trip and then just a tough, tough stretch of games. I’m staying positive. … I just want to stay positive.

“I think we’re playing good baseball,” he added of the team as a whole. “We had a good homestand last time we were home. We went into Philly, played great and won a game in New York. And then we lost some close games after that. We had a big one yesterday. If you look at what we’ve been doing lately, I think we’ve been playing good baseball.”

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