The trouble with interleague play for American League writers is not knowing the ballparks and the cities.
Take, for instance, the three-day stay in the Queen City and the two games at the Great American Ball Park.
The three main beat guys for the Texas Rangers all stayed across the Ohio River in Covington, Ky., which doesn’t have a lot going for it aside from a full-service Marriott and a few bars.
Come to think about it, that’s all we need.
Downtown Cincinnati is better, especially the area round the ballpark, and the word is that a Marriott will be built right down the street and be ready for the Rangers’ next visit. They went nine years between visits, so some of us might never pad our rewards accounts at the new hotel.
The biggest issue with GABP was exiting it. The stadium goes into full lockdown mode as soon as the last fan leaves, which is understandable. For AL writers, though, entering and exiting can be tricky.
Fortunately, a ballpark employee who had an all-access card sent two of us on the right route. Kudos to him.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from what happened on the field Wednesday, a 6-5 Rangers win.
1. Yu Darvish hit a home run. Great. But something he said about his pitching following three questions about his hitting prowess might have come across as somewhat alarming.
The right-hander said that a few close calls by plate ump Dan Iassogna that went against him left him frustrated and disrupted his normally steady focus. Darvish walked five and hit one in his worst start of the season.
Truth be told, it isn’t any more alarming than Friday at Tampa Bay. Cole Hamels said that he strayed away from the game plan against Corey Dickerson, who promptly broke up Hamels’ no-hit bid in the sixth.
Even the best of the best have lapses. Look at Adrian Beltre, who for a week or so has been chasing and missing pitches above his head. He laid off of one from Blake Wood just before his 2,900th career hit, which just happened to be the go-ahead double.
“You saw that?” he said, proudly.
So, Darvish slipped for the first time this season. He didn’t get a ton of help behind him, which might have also contributed to his lapse in focus. The home run might have served as a bit of a distraction.
The good news is that the Rangers won, a win they needed ahead of what could be four tough games against Cleveland, three toughies against Seattle and then three against Houston. The trend this season indicates those won’t be so tough, but who knows?
2. Carlos Beltran has matched his career-worst hitless drought at 0 for 24, but it’s probably one of the best-looking 0-for-24 skids in baseball history.
He smoked two balls Wednesday, after getting robbed of a double by Billy Hamilton on Tuesday. For those who look at exit velocities, as manager Jeff Banister does, there’s no need to worry about Beltran.
He doesn’t seemed worried about it in the least. Our main topic of conversation before the game was snow and how great his kids think it is in New York and how awesome I thought it was growing up in Colorado.
This is reporting at its finest.
Looking over his career numbers, this guy is a hitting machine. He stumbled some in 2014 in his first year with the Yankees and in an injury-plagued 2010 with the Mets, but otherwise this is an exceptional player.
No one should be worrying about this weeklong funk.
3. Midway through the game Wednesday, after Darvish’s homer and before Beltre’s winning hit and splendid defensive play to end it, the Rangers involved themselves in a three-team trade.
They lost a player, shortstop Dylan Moore, who was sent to Atlanta. The Braves sent old friend Jeff Francoeur to Miami, and the Braves and Marlins sent international slot money to the Rangers.
After all the rules and regulations were accounted for, the Rangers came away with $868,000, half of their original signing pool. That’s not insignificant money, and this deal could turn into a significant one.
The Rangers are planning to restock their farm system after losing six players, and with a seventh to be dealt away, in three deals ahead of the trade deadline.
The Rangers might not find a player the caliber of Lewis Brinson, Lewis Ortiz, Dillon Tate or Travis Demeritte, but they might be able to develop a decent prospect or two from a group that can be as large as they want it depending on how they want to stretch the extra cash.
Then again, maybe the money is already earmarked for a bigger prospect who didn’t sign July 2. That’s always a possibility. Rougned Odor, for instance, didn’t sign until six months into the 2010 international signing period in January 2011 for only $425,000.
So, the Rangers’ role in the three-team swap might appear to be minor, but it could be a significant deal.