MLB: Slumping Rangers look to wake up bats vs. Guardians

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Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said his team is “officially in a funk” as the defending World Series champions begin a six-game homestand with a three-game series against the Cleveland Guardians on Monday night.

The Rangers finished a 5-5 road trip in head-scratching fashion, getting swept in three games by a Colorado team that entered the weekend with just nine wins in 37 games. Equally as puzzling was the fact Texas, which had scored 31 runs and bashed 43 hits in taking two of the final three games at Oakland, managed just six runs and 22 hits in the launching pad better known as Coors Field.

“It’s hard to explain how you come into Colorado and not swing the bats better than the way we did,” Bochy said.

The Rangers managed just an RBI single by Adolis Garcia in a 3-1 loss in Sunday’s finale. Texas only hit two home runs over the weekend — solo shots by Leody Tavares and Corey Seager.

“We’re officially in a funk here. That’s obvious,” Bochy said. “When you look at the (lack of) runs we put up in the series, it doesn’t happen very often here but it’s baseball. One run today. I’m as surprised as anybody. Just couldn’t get much going. … It was a tough series because we got the starting pitching and we just couldn’t do much offensively.”

Michael Lorenzen (2-2, 4.66 ERA), winless in his last three starts, starts Monday’s opener for Texas and will be opposed by fellow right-hander Tanner Bibee (2-1, 4.91), who is also winless in his last three starts.

Lorenzen, who gave up six runs on nine hits over six innings in his last start, a 9-4 loss at Oakland on Wednesday, is 2-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 10 career appearances and two starts against Cleveland.

Bibee picked up a no-decision in his last start on Wednesday against Detroit, allowing four runs on five hits over four innings in a game the Guardians eventually won 5-4 in 10 innings. He is 0-0 with a 2.38 ERA in two career starts against Texas.

Bochy was asked how his team can get out of its offensive funk.

“You keep battling,” he said. “You have no choice in this game. You put this behind you. It’s never fun to get swept and be in a funk like this. But we’re men, you come out and be ready to go the next day.”

Cleveland battled similar offensive woes in dropping three of four games to the White Sox in Chicago over the weekend. The Guardians, who hold a half-game lead in the Central over Minnesota and Kansas City, managed just six runs on 21 hits in losing the first three games before salvaging Sunday’s finale with a 7-0 victory.

Logan Allen (4-2) picked up the win, allowing six hits over six shutout innings despite taking a line drive off the back from leadoff hitter Tommy Pham. He walked one and struck out three.

Cleveland took its first lead of the series, 1-0, in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Brayan Rocchio. Andres Gimenez hit a solo homer and David Fry added a two-run blast in the fourth to extend the lead to 4-0, and Estevan Florial had an RBI double to highlight a three-run sixth to blow the game open.

Guardians manager Stephen Vogt felt Rocchio’s sacrifice fly relaxed his team offensively.

“You could feel an exhale,” Vogt said. “Everybody’s been working really hard and trying their best, we just hadn’t been getting it done. To scratch one across was huge for us.”

“The important part is just to get that first run,” Gimenez added. “Once that first run comes, good things happen.”

–Field Level Media

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