ARLINGTON, Texas -- Playing in front of family and friends, Texas native Will Middlebrooks had a game Saturday night he would just as soon forget.
In the field, Middlebrooks was charged with two errors, both the throwing variety. In the first, he made an errant throw which allowed Adrian Beltre to reach, though the miscue was relatively harmless when John Lackey pitched out of the jam.
Neither Lackey nor Middlebrooks was as fortunate in the fifth. The Texas Rangers had the bases loaded and two outs when Craig Gentry hit a bouncer to third.
Middlebrooks was playing back and had to wait for the second hop. When he fielded it, Genry, with good speed, was moving down the line. The third baseman's throw was low and wide of first baseman Mike Napoli, and two runners scored.
"He had to give ground on the second hop off the bat,'' said John Farrell, "and as well as Gentry runs, he's got to hurry the throw. That's one of those in-between plays and we're playing deep and he can't come get that ball. He's got to play the long hop.''
"It was one of those in-betweeners,'' said Middlebrooks, "and I felt like for a guy with speed like that, I need to go get that, but at the same time, it's going to be an in-between hop. So I wanted to at least give myself a chance to get him out. I just had to get rid of it as quick as I could and made a bad throw.''
Things weren't any better at the plate for Middlebrooks, who's hitting .195 for the season, and other than a hot streak in the first week of the season -- highlighted by a three homer game in Toronto on April 7 -- he hasn't hit much in the first five weeks.
On this road trip, he's 3-for-19 and hasn't knocked in a run.
"I've dealt with (a slump) like this at almost every level,'' said Middlebrooks. "It's nothing new to me. It's just a bigger stage now and winning is important. Luckily, my teammates have been picking me up and I'll pick it up pretty soon. I'm just as tired of it as everyone else is. As cold as I've been, I'll be just as hot (when I get going).''
One thing that hasn't faltered is Middlebrooks' confidence.
"It's not (shaken),'' he said. "I'm not going to give up on myself. I know what got me here, I know my ability. I'm not worried about it. I'm going to get through it.''
Still, he acknowledges that the frustration is mounting.
"I'm human,'' he said. "I'm pissed. I don't like letting my team down. Who likes to hit .190 when you're a .300 hitter? Not me -- I hate it. I don't want to let my team down anymore.''