The Texas Rangers are sliding again in September, right into their final series against American League West foe Oakland.
A huge difference this season is that the Rangers will be home for this three-game series, and still have two weeks of games left after that.
“Yeah, we still have time,” closer Joe Nathan said. “Hopefully we can turn this thing around at the right time.”
Texas still has a tight hold on the AL’s top wild-card spot despite losing nine of its last 12 games (2-8 in September) while dropping four consecutive series.
But remember how that wild-card thing worked out last season?
After going to two World Series in a row, then being in first place for a MLB-high 178 days last season, the Rangers ended the regular season with their worst slump of the year, losing nine of 13. That included being swept in three games the first week in October at Oakland, which clinched the AL West title by winning game No. 162.
Even with Yu Darvish on the mound at home, the Rangers lost the first one-and-done wild-card playoff to Baltimore.
“We’re not going to stop,” Nathan said. “Obviously we’re looking to win our division. ... We’ve got to grind, we’ve got to turn this thing around.”
Oakland won 8-2 in its series finale at Minnesota on Thursday, when the Rangers had their last scheduled day off before playing 17 days in a row.
“Our heart is still in it. We’ve just got to do what we have to do to make sure we win,” manager Ron Washington said. “I’m not concerned. We’ll be ready to play with Oakland coming to town.”
Molina takes time for ill mother
St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina missed his second consecutive game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night because of an illness in the family. Molina’s mother, Gladys, is recuperating from an unspecified surgery performed Wednesday.
Molina and his brother, assistant hitting coach Bengie Molina, were not at Busch Stadium the last two nights, and manager Mike Matheny would not say when the catcher was expected back.
Padres promote Hoffman
The San Diego Padres promoted Trevor Hoffman to upper-level pitching coordinator and special assistant to General Manager Josh Byrnes. Hoffman, the former star closer, will evaluate and help coordinate all pitchers at Double-A, Triple-A and the big-league team.