|Last-place teams Orioles, Rangers open series|
BALTIMORE -- Both the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles almost certainly will be sellers at the major-league trade deadline.
As a result, there should be plenty of scouts in attendance when the teams open a three-game series beginning Friday at Camden Yards.
Orioles shortstop Manny Machado has been bombarded at his locker by visiting media trying to get any insight on where the All-Star might be heading. It's almost a foregone conclusion that Machado will be dealt to another team because he is a free agent at the end of the season and the last-place Orioles are already out of contention.
Machado, who is batting .316 with 23 homers and 64 RBIs, is trying not to let the constant trade talk become a distraction. The Orioles (26-68) have lost nine of 11 and are in last place in the American League East.
"It's a tough situation. You try to soak it in," he said. "People want you, teams want you. You try to soak it in, but at the same time you've just got to let it slide. Once that game starts or it gets close to game time, you want to prepare yourself and get mentally ready for the game. At the end of the day, I'm trying to go out there and leave it out on the field, do everything well, and play good baseball."
The Rangers (40-54) have lost five of six and are mired in last place in the American League West. Left-hander Cole Hamels (4-8, 4.28 ERA) will start the opener in Baltimore. The veteran is also likely to draw some interest from contending teams. In his last outing, Hamels allowed seven runs and five hits over two-thirds of an inning, which tied the shortest start of his 13-year career.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister is confident Hamels will bounce back.
"Very uncharacteristic," Banister said after the latest poor outing. "For me, Cole looked as strong as he's been all year long. ... Cole will be all right."
Hamels is 1-4 with a 5.35 ERA in six career starts against Baltimore.
Rangers center fielder Delino DeShields left the previous game after diving for a fly ball in the sixth inning. However, he could be back on the lineup Friday.
"He's being evaluated; back, upper-neck area," Banister said. "I just took him out to be evaluated."
The Orioles will counter with the struggling Alex Cobb (2-11, 6.67) in the opener. Cobb has had trouble getting on track all season. He had to leave his last start in the sixth inning after suffering a blister on his right index finger. Cobb allowed five runs and seven hits before departing.
"It was getting hot later on in the game, so tried to cool down a lot between innings with ammonia and wet towels and stuff, and just hot spots started popping up in that last inning, and I could feel it kind of affecting my pitches quite a bit, so the move was to just get out of there," said Cobb, who is 1-0 with a 2.91 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers. "I've dealt with it in the past. Should only be short-term issue. It won't harm my next outing, I don't believe."