The Texas Rangers return home after getting swept for the first time in a three-game series this season.
One trouble area against the Chicago White Sox was the offense. The bats weren't able to get the clutch hits they needed and didn't score nearly enough runs to put pressure on Chicago. In fact, during the Rangers' four-game losing streak (includes the final game of the Oakland series), the bats have disappeared. A look:
* In those four games, the Rangers are hitting .214 as a team with one home run and just eight runs scored. That two-run average is more than three runs below the club's current season-long average.
* They had 21 strikeouts and six walks in that four-game span with a .536 OPS and just a .254 OBP.
The Rangers' pitching certainly didn't do its part in the 19-2 loss. But outside of that game, the club allowed 10 total runs in three games and couldn't get a win. Matt Harrison pitched well enough to earn a victory Thursday, but the Rangers scored just one run (on a grounder off the leg of Jose Quintana) on two hits.
Can returning home help give the offense a jolt? Well, they do hit better at home (.288 to .274 on the road) and are scoring 5.6 runs per game. Some of that was built up from the beginning of the season, but they did average 5.5 runs per game during the 17-4 stretch in June. And even then, players admitted that they weren't fully clicking on offense or getting enough timely hits.
We'll see if the club can generate something in this series against the Minnesota Twins before the All-Star break. Minnesota is allowing 5.2 runs per game and is last in the AL Central.