Pitching, defense fueled Rangers' win streak

Pitching, defense fueled Rangers' win streak

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers' 12-game winning streak ended on Wednesday and they fell two short of the club record set in 1991. But a comparison of the two streaks shows how much the Rangers have changed in the past few years.

The 1991 streak was all offense. The Rangers hit .348 during the streak with a .542 slugging percentage and averaged 8.1 runs per game. Their pitchers had a modest 3.31 ERA, but their starters had a 4.00 ERA and were averaging 5 1/3 innings per start. There were no complete games and only three times did the starters manage at least seven innings.

They were killing the bullpen, especially their best two setup relievers. Mike Jeffcoat pitched 10 innings over eight appearances and Rich Gossage pitched nine innings over seven appearances. They were never as effective the rest of the season. Starter Bobby Witt went down with a torn rotator cuff during the streak, and that hurt the Rangers much worse than anything.

During this year's 12-game streak, the Rangers hit. They had a .321 batting average, a .549 slugging percentage and averaged 6.4 runs per game. Their pitching was lights out, to. During the streak the Rangers had a 1.92 ERA while holding opponents to a .190 batting average. They struck out 92 and walked 26 in 108 innings.

Manager Ron Washington was most impressed with his defense. They committed just three errors in 12 games and allowed just one unearned run. The Rangers committed 10 errors during the 14-game winning streak in '91.

"That's what it's going to have to take the rest of the way," Washington said. "We have to pitch well and we certainly have to play good defense. Our offense is going to put up runs, but we win when we catch the ball and get the outs we need and our pitching keeps us in the game."