The Texas Rangers might still be in first place in the American League West, but the team has been giving up ground over the last two weeks to the competition. Today the squad tries to get back into the win column as it closes out a three-game set against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
Since winning four straight and five of six back in late May to move to 31-18, the Rangers have hit more than a few bumps in the road and have won just three times in the last 11 outings which means their advantage over the Los Angeles Angels is now just three games.
Yesterday Texas was held scoreless for the first seven innings by San Francisco and then only managed to push across one run in each of the final two frames in a 5-2 road loss. Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland both delivered solo home runs as the visitors registered just five total hits.
"Throughout the whole lineup everyone is struggling right now," said Texas manager Ron Washington. "All we can do is keep working and keep doing what we know we have to do and it will come back around. Right now I really don't have an answer."
Texas starter Scott Feldman fell to 0-5 on the season as he permitted three runs -- two earned -- on four hits while striking out seven over 5 1/3 innings.
Over on the other side the Giants, now four games off the pace and in second place in the National League West behind the Dodgers, were led by Ryan Vogelsong who allowed just a single run on three hits and three walks, fanning three, in 7 2/3 innings. Santiago Casilla registered just a single strikeout to end the contest, but that was enough to earn him his 16th save of 2012.
Ryan Theriot knocked in a pair and Nate Schierholtz added a double and a triple for the hosts as they won for the seventh time in the last nine outings. Also getting in on the action was Pablo Sandoval who drove in a run in his first game since May 2 due to surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his right hand.
Desperate to get his season on track, San Francisco hurler Tim Lincecum searches for just his third win of 2012 and the first since April 28 versus San Diego.
Lincecum, one of the most dominating pitchers in the NL in recent years, was just 13-14 in 2011 even though he carried a 2.74 ERA. Unfortunately, he's been hurting himself for the last five weeks, unable to break what has become a four-game slide.
The right-hander is currently staring at a lofty 5.83 ERA over 12 games after being tagged for four runs on just five hits, while striking out eight, in six innings versus San Diego on Tuesday in a 6-5 setback.
Lincecum has won just once in four decisions at home this year, partly due to the fact that he has walked 20 batters in just 37.0 innings.
As for the Rangers, they have Alexi Ogando preparing to take the ball today as he seeks his second win in as many decisions. The right-hander has spent much of this season coming out of the bullpen and is being pressed into service after last pitching on June 5 against the Oakland A's when he permitted just a single hit in 1 2/3 innings as he struck out four in a 6-3 win on the road.
At the plate the Giants have gone a franchise record-tying 15 straight home games without a homer, a dubious feat they last recorded from Sept. 4 to Oct. 3, 1980. It should come as little surprise that San Francisco is second-to- last in the majors in home run with just 35 through 60 games, the team's slugging percentage of .382 coming in 25th.
At the other end of the spectrum are the Rangers who have the third-most home runs (82) over the same number of games and rank first across the board in runs scored (317), batting average (.282), on-base percentage (.343) and slugging (.462).