If you needed any indication of how things went for the Texas Rangers in Los Angeles on Friday night, infielder Charlie Culberson logged an inning on the mound.
The Rangers were blown out by the Dodgers in Los Angeles, losing by a score of 12-1. The game got out of hand early when the Boys in Blue put up a 6-spot in the first inning off Rangers starter Mike Foltynewicz, who only last 2 2/3 innings.
"It's deflating," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "He's gotta go out and make quality pitches. Folty allowed too many balls over the middle of the plate. He's gotta do a better job of executing. He's a Major League pitcher. And he'll tell you that. ... He didn't walk anybody, but at the same time, you've gotta execute better pitches than that or these guys are going to make you pay."
Even so, the Rangers had eight more innings of at-bats to try and claw their way back. A six-run deficit is a tough hole to climb out of for any team, but we've seen this Rangers team fight out of similar situations this season.
"Nothing was really good tonight on either side, offensively or pitching," said Woodward. "We've gotta be better. We've gotta execute."
The Rangers have now lost 16 games in a row on the road, tying the overall franchise record set by the Washington Senators in 1961. Remarkably, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a longer road losing streak this season at 19 games, the longest in Major League Baseball since the Pirates lost 19 straight games away from Pittsburgh in 1985.
Having a young team carrying such a heavy burden, it's easy for Woodward's group to overthink every pitch. Most of these guys are navigating a big league season as regulars for the first time. Plus, we live in a day and age where players are presented with more information about their opponents than ever before.
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Still, there is a way to simplify things. That's what Chris Woodward wants his team to do, regardless of the situation.
"A losing streak is a losing streak. We've just gotta play baseball. Go out and win a game," Woodward said. "We're trying to win a game whether we've lost 16 in a row or won 16 in a row. Tomorrow we've just gotta go out and win a baseball game."
It doesn't get any easier for the Rangers. After facing Clayton Kershaw on Friday night, Texas will face 2020 National League Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer on Saturday night and Walker Buehler on Sunday. It's just another reason for a group of young players to put pressure on themselves and possibly overthink things.
Woodward's message remains the same.
"We've gotta go out and play a good game tomorrow," Woodward explained. "Our pitcher has to give us a chance to win and our hitter gotta have quality at-bats and grind their butts off. Get a good pitch to hit, stick with their game plan, and hit the ball hard. It's not rocket science, what we need to do right now. The more we keep talking about what we can't do, we're losing focus on what we should be doing.
"I don't really care about the losing streak. I just want to play a clean game."
More on SI's Inside The Rangers:
- 'Bring On The Road': Rangers Not Shying Away From 15-Game Road Losing Streak
- How And When Do Managers Police Pitchers For Their 'Sticky Stuff'?
- Rangers Fight Until The End With Character Walk-Off Win Over Giants
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