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AL West Check-In: Rangers struggling with key OF in extended slump

Jun 20, 2024, 5:53 PM

Texas Rangers OF Adolis Garcia...

Adolis García #53 of the Texas Rangers reacts to his strikeout during a 2024 game. (Matt Krohn/Getty Images)

(Matt Krohn/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — With slugger Adolis García in an extended slump, the Texas Rangers are struggling to score runs and win games.

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“We’ve got to get him going, a big part of this club,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re having trouble scoring runs, and he’s the reason we do score runs.”

Garcia certainly isn’t solely to blame for the team’s offensive woes, but last year’s AL Championship Series MVP is hitting only .155 since the start of May. The big bat in the middle of the lineup has five homers and 15 RBIs with 50 strikeouts in 154 at-bats over those 41 games, and he has gone deep only once in his past 21 games.

The reigning World Series champion Rangers (34-40) went into an off day Thursday averaging 4.2 runs per game with a run differential of minus-16. At the same point last year, they led the majors with 451 runs (6.1 a game), were outscoring their opponents by a league-best 153 runs and had 12 more wins.

“It’s been a rough stretch for him. … We’re doing our best to help him break out,” general manager Chris Young said. “Certainly when he’s gone through this stretch and the team hasn’t played well, you feel for him because you know how hard he’s taking it, know that he’s not playing at his best.”

Standings

García had started 25 games in a row before a day off and a chat with Bochy this week. The manager later described the right fielder, an emotional leader for the Rangers, as being upbeat and in a good mood. García is hitting .211 overall with 13 homers and 40 RBIs that match Marcus Semien for the team lead.

Texas was a season-worst seven games under .500, and 10 games behind AL West-leading Seattle, after the 7-6 loss to New York Mets on Tuesday, the night off for García.

The Rangers ended a five-game losing streak when they beat New York 5-3 in the series finale Wednesday for only their 12th win in 35 games. García was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk and Texas didn’t have a hit until the sixth inning, but Leody Taveras hit a two-run homer in the seventh to break a 3-3 tie.

Taveras didn’t even start that game. The struggling center fielder, 3 for 49 in June before that, came in on defense in the seventh and then went deep in the bottom of the inning.

Switch-hitting catcher Jonah Heim is hitting .139 (10 for 72) over his past 20 games, and first baseman Nathaniel Lowe is at .193 (22 of 114) over 35 games. Shortstop Corey Seager hit 11 home runs in May, his most ever in a single month, and had reached base in 30 consecutive games until last week, but he is 2 for 21 (.095) in his last six games.

Texas is also is still missing Josh Jung, who suffered a broken right wrist when hit by a pitch in the fourth game of the season. The third baseman, an All-Star starter as a rookie last season, was hitting .412 with two homers and six RBIs while in the lineup before or after García.

Two-time All-Star García last fall set an MLB postseason record with 22 RBIs, 15 in the seven-game ALCS against Houston. The 31-year-old Cuban avoided salary arbitration during the offseason with a $14 million, two-year contract that could be worth as much as $20.25 million.

The struggles began this season after he hit .292 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in his 29 games before May.

“He’s working hard to get on track. Last year we saw him go through similar times like he’s going through now, but a lot of it is chasing and he knows that,” Bochy said. “I think it’s a case where he gets a couple of good games under his belt, gets his timing down … but he’s in between the slider and the fastball. And that just goes to show that his timing is off. That’s all that is.”

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AL West Check-In: Rangers struggling with key OF in extended slump