The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to own the worst record in baseball but they aren't playing the poorest ball in the majors.
The Texas Rangers currently hold that label and they strive to halt a 12-game losing streak when they face the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game set at Arlington, Texas.
The Rangers' slide is just three games away from matching the worst in franchise history -- a 15-gamer in 1972 under manager Ted Williams. Yes, that Ted Williams.
Texas has been outscored 80-20 during the streak and has been blanked three times and scored just one run in four other games.
Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Houston Astros marked the end to an 0-10 road trip.
"It's gut-wrenching. I mean it really is," Texas manager Chris Woodward said. "It's the toughest situation I've been a part of, and I know a lot of these guys can say the same thing."
"We cannot stop fighting. We cannot stop believing that we are going to get out of this because there is no help. You can't expect things to turn on a dime."
The Rangers tallied just five runs and 13 hits in the three-game set against the Astros. All-Star Joey Gallo was hitless in eight at-bats and is 2-for-30 with 16 strikeouts since the All-Star break.
"I think we're all struggling as a group," Texas outfielder David Dahl said. "Each guy wants to do so well and break out of it that you start putting a little more pressure on yourself, trying to get hits instead of letting everything come to you. I do that, too.
"It's just a matter of relaxing and really having fun out there. It's hard to have fun when you're losing, but we've got to have fun again."
Arizona was feeling joy with five wins in six games before dropping a 5-1 decision to the host Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
The Diamondbacks have dealt with a franchise-record 17-game losing streak and another stretch of 13 consecutive defeats during a season in which they got off to a 15-13 start before losing 50 of their next 58 games.
Arizona also set a major league record with 24 consecutive road losses. The club is 12-40 in road games, including 1-2 on the current five-game trip.
Sunday's loss looked familiar to Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo as his troops went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base.
"We couldn't get that big hit at the right time," Lovullo said. "There were a couple of situations we had men in scoring position with two out and we didn't execute. That's the frustration of the game. We got to learn from it and keep plowing forward.
"But we're playing much better baseball."
Arizona may get standout center fielder Ketel Marte (hamstring) back later in the week. Marte is completing a rehab stint.
The Diamondbacks will start Taylor Widener (1-0, 3.55 ERA) against the Rangers' Dane Dunning (3-7, 4.30) on Tuesday in a battle of 26-year-old right-handers.
Widener has never faced Texas, and Dunning has never opposed Arizona.
Widener will be making his eighth start of the season. He struck out a season-high eight against the Pittsburgh Pirates on July 20 but also allowed season worsts of five runs and eight hits over 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision.
Dunning lost his previous outing to the Detroit Tigers on July 20 when he gave up three runs and four hits over 4 2/3 innings. He has pitched five or fewer innings in nine straight starts and 15 of his 18 turns.
--Field Level Media