Wash's Wisdom: We can't drive a run in

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre is struggling. David Murphy is back in the lineup. And Lance Berkman is nowhere to be found.

That's where the Rangers' offense stands after a 1-0 loss to Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

In Ron Washington's weekly radio appearance Tuesday on Fitzsimmons & Durrett on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, the Rangers' manager said the same thing that led to a September collapse last season is the big reason why his team is 3-7 in its last 10 games.

The Rangers can't score runs.

"The fact is the same thing that is eating at us right now was the reason why we didn't finish up real well last year," Washington said. "We can't drive a run in. Right now, that's the same thing that is eating at us. We can't drive in a run right now. You hate for that to happen right now."

The Rangers are averaging 2.9 runs per game in this 10-game stretch. They're hitting .171 with runners in scoring position. They had only two such chances Monday night and didn't score.

An offensive resurgence will have to start with Beltre, who grounded out to shortstop with runners at second and third in the Rangers' best scoring chance in the sixth inning. Beltre takes a 2-for-23 skid into Tuesday's game against Pirates starter Francisco Liriano.

"(Adrian's) being challenged," Washington said Tuesday on Fitzsimmons & Durrett. "He's always been a guy who can rise to the challenge. And he will. I'm certain of that."

Washington said that Murphy, who has been in a season-long slump, will get most of the starts in left field while Jim Adduci deals with a right biceps strain. Adduci is day-to-day.

Engel Beltre and Joey Butler, both September call-ups, also could play in left field. Look for Craig Gentry or Butler to be in left field Tuesday against Liriano, a lefty.

One bat the Rangers could set free is Berkman.

Berkman had quality at-bats in two games last week in Oakland and hasn't played since then. He should have had a sacrifice fly on a ball Beltre failed to tag up on in Monday's game against the A's, which of course would have driven in a run.

Washington said Tuesday on Fitzsimmons & Durrett that Berkman hasn't played enough baseball and was a little sore a couple of days ago. Berkman said Monday that he can play, even though he probably needs a string of games to get his bat going.

"I certainly can't sit here and give you a timetable of when Lance will play," Washington said. "We have some guys out there right now who can help us win ballgames."

Still, this is Lance Berkman we're talking about. Lance Berkman. One of the best hitters of his generation is collecting dust on the Rangers' bench.

Since the Rangers will see four right-handers starting Wednesday with the Pirates' A.J. Burnett, why not give Berkman a chance? He can't do any worse than the rest of the roster.

Whoever is out there, the Rangers have to hit to catch the A's in the AL West.

"If we can ever get back to driving a run in, we'll get back to moving forward," Washington said.