Zeros are wild
Rangers scored just one run in three-game series
Posted: Sunday October 10, 1999 12:33 AM
Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez was just 3-for-12 in the Division Series. AP
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers exited the 1999 AL playoffs just as they had in their two previous playoff appearances -- with scarcely a whimper.
The AL West champs, who hit a major league-high .293 and scored 945 runs during a 95-victory regular season, were the same old Rangers in the playoffs, unnerved and outclassed by the New York Yankees.
Texas' lineup provided another futile performance Saturday night, managing only five hits against Roger Clemens and two relievers as the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the first round with a 3-0 victory.
For the second consecutive year, Texas could score only one run in three games against New York. And once again, Rangers pitching was good enough to win if only the bats had shown up.
Starter Esteban Loaiza gave up a three-run homer to Darryl Strawberry in the first, but shut New York out on three hits before giving way to reliever Jeff Zimmerman in the eighth.
As they had in the first two games, Rangers hitters made it easy on New York by showing little patience. The Yankees outscored Texas 14-1 in the sweep.
Texas' first at-bat with a runner in scoring position came in the fourth, when Lee Stevens grounded out weakly on the first pitch. The next Texas baserunner was Rusty Greer, who walked in the sixth. Slugger Juan Gonzalez followed with a dribbler to first and Rafael Palmeiro ended the inning by grounding Clemens' second pitch back to the mound.
Tom Goodwin opened the eighth with a single off Jeff Nelson. Mariano Rivera came on and got Mark McLemore to line into a double play and struck out Ivan Rodriguez.
Greer led off the ninth with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. Gonzalez flied out, Palmeiro popped out and Todd Zeile grounded out to end the Rangers' season.
Texas' vanishing offense has already become a tradition in the team's brief playoff history.
Since a 6-2 victory over the Yankees in Game 1 of the 1996 division series -- the first postseason game in team history - the Rangers have lost nine consecutive playoff games to New York.
In nearly all the losses, Texas has been virtually unable to touch Yankee pitching. The Rangers hit .141 in last year's sweep and batted just .152 (14-for-92) this time.
The deep freeze has affected even the Rangers' best hitters. Greer, a career .309 hitter, hit .091 in 1998's playoff disaster and had just one hit this series. Gonzalez, a two-time AL MVP, went 1-for-12 in last year's series and 2-for-11 this time.
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