Rangers' playoff chase reaches end

Rangers' playoff chase reaches end

ANAHEIM -- Marlon Byrd tried so hard to beat out a ground ball in the first inning that he strained his right hip capsule falling over first base and had to come out of the game.

"It's been taking a pounding all year, and it finally gave out on me," said Byrd, who had the hip give on him in his last at-bat on Monday night. "It's one of those things that happen when you play hard all year."

Michael Young, playing with a tender left hamstring, went 2-for-4 but was so upset about being called out on strikes by home-plate umpire Mike Winters that he threw his helmet in disgust toward the Rangers dugout.

"I don't like to argue, but I know when I'm right," Young snapped.

The Rangers' season is coming to an inexorable and frustrating end. This is not the way they wanted to finish, but they went down for the 12th time in their last 18 games with a 5-2 loss to the Angels on Tuesday night.

The Angels, having wrapped up the American League West title on Monday, played this one like a mid-March Spring Training game and used most of their extra position players while giving some key regulars a night off. They were still able to beat the Rangers for the second straight night and for the fourth time in five games over the past two weeks.

The loss officially eliminated the Rangers from the Wild Card race. The Rangers have now gone 10 years without making the playoffs.

"Obviously we fell short of our goal in winning the division," Young said. "But this is when you have to be a professional. You can't turn it on and turn it off. You've got to come out with the same intensity level and try to win because I'm going to go out on a limb and say the other team is trying to do the same thing."

Most frustrated for the Rangers was starter Scott Feldman, who struggled through his second straight short outing. A mental error by shortstop Elvis Andrus didn't help matters.

Feldman, trying for his 18th victory, ended up allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings. He threw 88 pitches before he was relieved by Guillermo Moscoso. Feldman has now allowed 11 runs in seven innings in his last two starts.

"I just don't see him pounding the strike zone the way he was earlier in the season," manager Ron Washington said, and Feldman totally agreed with him.

"I'm falling behind guys, and my command is not too sharp," Feldman said. "I'm getting into bad counts. Hopefully, in my next bullpen, I can make an adjustment and finish on a strong note. I'm really glad I have one more start."

Andrus cost Feldman two runs by forgetting to cover second base in the fourth inning. With two on and two out, first baseman Hank Blalock ranged far to his right to make a nice grab on Bobby Abreu's grounder. His only play was second base, but Andrus was not there. Mike Napoli, batting for Vladimir Guerrero, then singled to left to score two runs.

"I just froze my body," Andrus admitted. "I know I have to cover the bag, but my body froze. Sometimes those things happen."

Feldman declined to blame Andrus for his rough night.

"The guy has been making plays all year," Feldman said. "I'm never going to second guess him. It would have a different game if I made better pitches."

The Rangers are now down to their final five games. Washington made it clear he wants to finish in second place. Byrd just wants to finish.

He wanted to stay in the game on Tuesday, but the training staff convinced him to come out of the game. He will probably be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum but still wants to play.

"I'm going to come out tomorrow and try to get out there," Byrd said. "If I'm like I was tonight, I won't play. I've been playing with this for three weeks and it just gave out on me."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.