The Rangers lost again on Tuesday night and they did it in the fashion to which we've grown accustomed.
Plot particulars were unique to the specific contest -- Pedro Strop's bad inning, an idiotic bunt by Ian Kinsler -- but the ending was just as frustrating and maddening as the others that have preceded it in the last few weeks. In that regard, Rangers games have become a bit like episodes of "Three's Company" if you substituted a team revealing it is shorthanded for miscommunication among the main characters.
Things don't figure to get much better soon. Two more Rangers joined the wounded list on Tuesday and neither loss is one that gives much hope for a quick turnaround from the recent malaise.
Nelson Cruz left the game after the sixth inning with a quad injury and left the team with few choices about who to play in the outfield right now. Cruz says the injury isn't particularly serious but history says that Cruz has problems staying healthy. At the very least, the team needs to call up another outfielder who can give Cruz some time to make sure he's totally healthy before getting back into the lineup.
Alexi Ogando didn't have to leave the game, but he did struggle to pitch while dealing with a blister that keeps popping up on his right hand. That he danced around danger all night says much for his ability, but the fact that he keeps having this problem makes you wonder about when everything is going to blow up in his face.
Neither of these injuries are season-killers, obviously. But they are two more things that push the Rangers farther away from being at full strength this season. Until they really are at full strength, it will be hard for them to address the deeper needs of the team because, frankly, it is hard to know exactly what those needs are when you don't see the whole team at its peak.
Here's an example: Everyone thinks the bullpen is atrocious and standing in the way of success right now, but the numbers tell us that it has actually been right about average. In terms of stranding inherited runners, they're actually well above average. Every failure shines bright, however, because it is so obvious that the team is using inferior players to cover for those who are missing from the lineup.
Do they need to go outside for an arm? Maybe, but they may also just need Ogando back in the eighth inning or a rotation that can get deeper into games.
Every team has its breaking point and it is starting to feel like the Rangers are getting closer to theirs.