ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have spent all but three days this season by themselves in first place, leading the American League West by five games entering Friday.
But after a 15-4 start, Texas went on to lose 10 of its next 18 games. Wednesday's series finale against the Mariners, a 5-3 loss, marked the Rangers' 20th game in as many days. They went 10-10 over that stretch. Since April 19, they have never led their division by less than four games.
"We've hit some down time," said manager Ron Washington. "It happened in every area. Pitching, for a while, wasn't right. Offense went south. Things got a little flat. The only way you can deal with that is to work through it. We're not going to make any excuses. It's a long year."
The Rangers have alternated wins and losses in each of their last nine games. They dropped both games of a two-game series with the Royals before splitting a pair of games against the Athletics to complete a seven-game homestand. Then, the Rangers went to Houston and took two of three games from the Astros before losing two of three games against the Mariners.
"It's going to turn back around," Washington said. "Every club does it. That's what good clubs do. They shorten the periods when they're in downside. We're going to break out and get back on a roll. We've just got to go out and play."
The Rangers scored seven runs during their most recent series against the Mariners. It was the first time all year that they had scored less than three runs in three consecutive games. Texas needed only a season-low four hits to record its only win of the series, a 3-1 victory Tuesday. The club has scored 455 runs and boasts a .284 batting average, both of which led the Majors entering Friday.
But Washington is concerned with other phases of the game.
"Offense comes and goes. It all starts with pitching and defense," said Washington. "There are days when the offense will take over. But pitching and defense are constant. They've got to show up every single day. They don't take days off."