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What doomed the Texas Rangers' loss to the Angels? Overthrowing and overswinging

ANAHEIM — It was all just a little too much.

No, it wasn't the start of this six-game road trip that the Texas Rangers began with a series win. Nor was it the pressure of their current situation, a moment they faced for much of the past week.

It came down to the basics: a little too long throws and a little too wide swings. The Rangers' five-game winning streak was snapped Wednesday with a 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Angels Stadium, in which starting pitcher Michael Lorenzen struggled to control his throws and the heart of the Texas lineup wasted two golden opportunities to get back in the game.

First, Lorenzen. The right-hander allowed five runs on five hits, four walks and one hit batter in five innings pitched. He allowed four walks in the first two innings of the game and allowed the first five Los Angeles batters to get through in the second inning.

He hit Logan O'Hoppe with a pitch (though catcher Jonah Heim, who missed Tuesday's game because of a stiff neck, threw him out trying to steal second base), walked Brandon Drury, walked Matt Thais and allowed a run-scoring single by Zach Neto before Mickey Moniak hit a high fastball for a three-run home run to make it 4-0. Lorenzen allowed a fifth run in the third inning on a run-scoring double by Neto that came off a sinker in the bottom half of the strike zone.

Walks have become a problem. Lorenzen has allowed 13 walks in his last three starts — four against the Baltimore Orioles on June 29, five against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 5 and four more against the Angels — and struck out three batters. He allowed five runs to the Orioles but managed to keep his start against the Rays scoreless. His 4.3 walks per nine innings this season are the highest since his 2021 season with the Cincinnati Reds.

The 32-year-old attributed control issues to over-throwing. Put more simply, he tried to increase his velocity, which affected the quality and control of his throws. Lorenzen said that “letting his foot off the gas” should help him in the future with the upcoming All-Star break.

“You try to throw aggressively and you miss the ball right down the middle,” Lorenzen said. “Then you try to stay aggressive but also make a good throw, and you just rip and hit the throws and then they stop swinging. I don't try to stay out of the zone, but when I attack the zone, it's just a middle throw. You don't want to live in the middle.”

And the offense? It went four innings without conceding against Angels right-hander Griffin Canning before Heim singled to open the fifth inning and Leody Taveras slammed a high changeup 401 feet into right-center field for a two-run home run.

Then there were two missed opportunities to capitalize on the bases loaded. Each went like this:

— Marcus Semien (single), Corey Seager (single) and Josh Smith (walk) each reached a full base in the fifth inning for cleanup hitter Wyatt Langford. The 22-year-old rookie fouled off two pitches from Hans Crouse before seeing a strike three on a sinker in the zone. Adolis García — who seemed to have found some of his momentum Tuesday night — then struck out after seven pitches, chasing a slider out of the zone to end the inning.

— The second stanza was almost the same as the first. No. 9 hitter Travis Jankowski started the seventh inning with a single, Semien walked and Smith was hit by a pitch for a league-leading 14th time, leaving the bases loaded for Langford. He struck out after five pitches, chasing a Hunter Strickland sinker that was below the zone; García then threw out a José Marte sinker on the first pitch, leaving the bases loaded.

Langford and García's combined 0-for-4 line with the bases loaded lowered the Rangers' season batting average in those situations to .228, ninth-worst in the league.

“I have to say that overall we did a little more tonight than we have done so far,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “Even early in the game. I don't know if they didn't see it well, but we were chasing a few shots that we just didn't make.”

Twitter/X: @McFarland_Shawn

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