The Rangers’ decision to keep Mitch Moreland and trade Chris Davis looked worse than ever Saturday.
Moreland struck out in all three at-bats during a crushing 1-0 loss to American League West-leading Oakland at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Davis is having an epic season for Baltimore. Moreland is more than halfway toward a record for offensive futility.

Moreland is hitless in his last 21 at-bats dropping his average to a season-low .235. Another Ranger Vic Harris set the record for most consecutive hitless at-bats by a position player with a 0-for-35 in 1972.

Making contact has become Moreland’s biggest problem. He has 14 strikeouts in the hitless streak and 22 strikeouts in his last 43 at-bats. Moreland swung and missed at five of the 16 pitches he saw in this loss.

The technical explanation is that Moreland is not keeping his hands inside pitches making him even more vulnerable to off-speed pitches inside and down. Moreland is not hitting balls hard to the opposite field which he does when swinging well.

“I’m working on trying to go up there and battle every at-bat and get a good pitch to hit” Moreland said. “It hadn’t gone like I planned on it to but I get to play every day and will come back tomorrow to do it again.”

Manager Ron Washington had no answer when asked if Moreland will remain at first base Sunday against right-hander Jarrod Parker. Washington also suggested that the Rangers are about out of new ideas on ways to fix Moreland and the rest of a slumping lineup.

“We’re doing everything we can do” Washington said. “We’re working every day. Once those guys step in the box they’re on their own.”

Moreland declined to comment on the question of whether Davis’ success with the Orioles has caused him to put undue pressure upon himself. Moreland will never escape the comparison. He will always be linked to Davis because of a decision the Rangers made in 2011.

To add right-hander Koji Uehara to the bullpen the Rangers sent Davis to the Orioles. The Rangers recognized Davis’ unfulfilled potential but thought they had a suitable option in another on-the-rise first baseman in Moreland.