At some point during every series at Camden Yards, the visiting players are going to get fed local crabs.
The feast was served to the Texas Rangers after Wednesday night’s game.
As such, the players had the choice of pigging out in the clubhouse, waiting to talk to the media to pig out, or eating elsewhere.
Two of the key players in the 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles chose to pig out in the clubhouse. As such, there are no quotes from Mitch Moreland or Rougned Odor.
If I had a choice between crabs and talking to reporters, I’m taking the grub. No hard feelings here.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a second straight loss.
1. Cole Hamels would never admit to such a thing, so I suppose we’ll never know if the Manny Machado soft liner in the first inning that hit off Moreland’s glove and trickled down the right-field line for a double was what really disrupted Hamels in a three-run first.
It seems doubtful, though, based on what the All-Star did say.
Moreland jumped and appeared to catch the Machado ball, which had all kinds of spin on it. Manager Jeff Banister called it a shank. Hamels called it a cue shot.
Whatever it was, catching it might have resulted in a double play. Instead, the Orioles had runners at second and third with one out.
Hamels got the next hitter, Mark Trumbo, to bounce into a fielder’s choice as Machado foolishly tried for third and was thrown out. A run scored, but no big deal.
But then Hamels, a left-hander, issued a walk to the lefty-hitting Chris Davis. That might have bugged Hamels the most, as another walk followed to Steve Pearce to load the bases.
Matt Wieters followed with a two-run single, and the Rangers were down 3-1.
Hamels said that he was trying to force pitches. In his world, that means making them move rather than trusting that they will do so naturally through his mechanics and arm action as they have done tens of thousands of times in his career.
The Orioles’ ability to hit balls out of their hitter-friendly ballpark played a factor, too, Hamels said.
The Machado-Moreland incident? Doubtful.
2. The Orioles’ PR staff provided the following numbers on Hamels:
Since Aug. 25, 2015, Hamels has made 31 starts for the Rangers. He’s 19-3 with a 2.97 ERA, 195 strikeouts and 22 quality starts.
Since the All-Star break, following two miserable starts against Minnesota to end the first half, Hamels is 3-1 with 1.59 ERA. He’s 12-3 with a 2.89 ERA this season.
That’s Cy Young stuff. That’s not to say he’s going to win the award, though he has a few things working in his favor.
He’s the best pitcher on the best team in the American League, and the field of competitors is pretty thin. He ranks high in ERA, strikeouts, pitchers WAR and wins, which still matter to some voters.
Working against him are the 55 walks that have led to a 1.25 WHIP and the 17 homers he’s allowed. That will climb to a pretty big number. Hamels also doesn’t have a complete game, nor does he light up the advanced statistics.
Toronto has a couple of candidates in Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and 2014 winner Corey Kluber is producing stats for Cleveland that both the traditional crowd and the numbers crowd love.
Don’t discount Baltimore closer Zach Britton, who has converted all 33 saves this season. That’s an MLB record to start a season, breaking the record of 32 set by Willie Hernandez in 1984.
Hernandez won the Cy Young and MVP that year, appearing in 80 games spanning 140 1/3 innings. He went 9-3 with a 1.92 ERA for the world champion Detroit Tigers, and he was 32 for 32 in save chances.
That kind of season will never happen again.
3. The Rangers’ new-look offense is now 0 for 2 and has produced three runs in the first two games of the series. It would probably be a good idea to score in droves Thursday as A.J. Griffin, who has a knack for giving up homers, pitches.
The good news is that Carlos Beltran and Jonathan Lucroy got monkeys off their backs by doing something positive. Beltran homered in the first, and Lucroy had an RBI single in the second for their first hits since Monday’s trades.
(A quick note on Beltran: Get ready for him to be called Beltre many times. It’s happened to me twice. Once was on the Twitter, where everybody is an editor yet usually makes edits without proper punctuation or grammar.)
Beltran said that it was nice to get his first hit out of the way and to do something productive. He was ticked after a quick out in the eighth, but he put the ball in play in all four at-bats.
Lucroy made the game’s final out. He was the batter when Rougned Odor tried to advance on a ball in the dirt and was thrown out on a brilliant throw by Orioles catcher Wieters.
Banister said that he had no issues with Odor’s attempt, even though it might have cost the Rangers a chance at the winning run.
Banister’s reasoning is that the Rangers were on the road and facing the opponent’s closer. That’s Britton. Pretty tough.
Maybe not 1984 Willie Hernandez-tough, but tough. Britton’s got Hernandez’s record, after all.
Odor’s gamble to get into scoring position, a gamble in which he did everything correct, was worth taking.
The game was over a few pitches later.
Bring on the crabs.