The Texas Rangers have picked an awful time to play their worst baseball of the season. On Tuesday, the Rangers try to stop a seven-game losing streak and remain in the postseason mix when they play the second of four straight games against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Texas' struggles continued on Monday, as Alex Cobb threw eight strong innings to lead Tampa Bay to a 6-2 win. Wil Myers hit a solo homer and had three RBI and Ben Zobrist reached base four times with three hits and a walk for the Rays, who remained atop the AL wild card standings with their fourth win in five games.
The Rangers were tied for the wild card lead with Tampa Bay coming into the game but fell to 2-12 in their last 14 games.
Cobb (9-3) struck out 10, walked one and gave up two runs and six hits. The Rays won for the first time in his last five starts.
"At this point of the season, and with the position we're in, every game is going to get bigger. Yesterday was the biggest game of the season, today is the biggest game of the season, tomorrow will be the biggest game of the season. I don't think it's unfair to say that. We realize the performance we have to put together out there every night. I think we're up for it," Cobb said.
Matt Garza (3-5) was charged with six runs in 4 1/3 innings in his first-ever start against his former team. Garza, who pitched for Rays from 2008-10, gave up eight hits and two walks and struck out three.
Garza made his first appearance at Tropicana Field since the Rays dealt him to the Cubs on Jan. 8, 2011.
"I'm not frustrated and I'm confused," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I'm trying to figure out what we have to do to jump-start this offense."
Heading to the hill for the Rangers on Tuesday will be right-hander Alexi Ogando, who is 6-4 with a 3.23 earned run average in 19 games (15 starts) this season.
Ogando has not started since Aug. 13, making four relief appearances this month since coming off the disabled list. He has thrown six scoreless innings over that time, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out five.
Ogando is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in nine career meetings with the Rays, including two starts.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, will counter with righty Jeremy Hellickson, who is 11-8 with a 5.04 ERA. Hellickson did not get a decision on Thursday against Boston, as he allowed three runs and four hits in 5 1/3 frames of his team's 4-3 win.
Hellickson has faced the Rangers three times and is 0-2 with a 3.18 ERA.
Texas has split its four matchups with the Rays this season.