Tagged: Manny Machado

Baltimore Orioles: Devoid of the “clutch gene” in 2017?

Manny Machado had his share of clutch moments for the 2017 Baltimore Orioles. And there were plenty of others as well. Look back to Opening Day and you’ll see Mark Trumbo hitting a walk off homer to beat Toronto. That’s a big spot and it’s obviously as clutch as it gets.

But also look to last night’s ALCS game where New York came from four runs down late to defeat Houston. You have Judge of course hitting a home run, and New York proceeding to bat around in the following inning. Can we say that something like this never happened to the 2017 O’s? Of course not. But it sure seeed that the times it happened were few and far between.

So how did this clutch gene seemingly land in New York? Perhaps the better question is how does it seemingly always seem to land in New York – over the generations? That’s really tough to say. This is a New York team that knows they’re playing on borrowed time in a sense. They weren’t supposed to be this good this quickly.

And in a sense, they’re soaking in the experience of playing at the level at which they are. And perhaps that’s relaxing them to the point of playing the way that they are. Instead, the Orioles felt the pressure almost from day one. And at a certain point it took it’s toll.

However keep in mind that Judge is a hitter that’s probably similar to the likes of Davis and Trumbo. He’s predictable in the sense that he swings at anything and everything. Right now his bat is catching everything, making people think he’s the begin all end all of hitting. But keep in mind that he had a secon half swoon as well where his bat wasn’t catching anything.

And that’s perhaps part of the story of the 2017 O’s. They were constantly predictable in the sense that teams knew they were going up to the plate hacking. So at some point they’d employ a small wrinkle in their game plan, perhaps as small as late movement one way or the other on a pitch. And being predictable, the Orioles couldn’t adjust.

And that’s part of why they couldn’t seem to get that clutch gene going. Will that change in 2018? It’s going to have to.


Baltimore Orioles fall, worry about Manny Machado’s contract

The biggest question around town this week wasn’t whether or not the Baltimore Orioles would make the post season (that ship has probably already sailed), but what would happen with Manny Machado. We all know the situation; next year Machado will enter the last year of his contract. The Orioles have said publicly that he’s not on the trade block, however reportedly owner Peter Angelos hasn’t decided whether or not to offer Machado a mega-deal either. So what gives?

I’m the first one to tell you that if they decide that they won’t be able to sign him, they need to trade him. Whether that happens at the winter meetings or just prior to spring training is irrelevant. But my personal opinion is that the best way forward for the O’s is by signing Machado long-term, and keeping him. Easier said than done, for sure.

This hung over the Orioles as they prepared to play Tampa last night, and as Orioles fans watched Ubaldo Jimenez struggle perhaps for the final time at Camden Yards. Jimenez’s line: 3.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 3 K. One thing we’ve seen a lot of this year from starters across the board is that in many cases they’re fairly solid first time through the order. However whatever they’re doing is quickly being snuffed out by opponents and they’re pouncing on the Birds the second and third times through.

Tampa’s Ramos smacked a grand slam in the second, followed by a Longoria homer in the third. However in between the Birds put up two runs also. Hays added a sac fly-RBI, and Mancini scored on a wild pitch. Chris Davis would lead the fourth inning off with a solo homer to run the score to 6-3, but that’s as close as the Orioles got. Tampa’s Dickerson smacked an RBI-double in the fifth, as did Duda in the ninth. The Orioles hit several batsmen in this game, many of which came into score. Again folks, mind you that Tampa’s a small ball team. If you find a way to get on base, they’ll find a way to get you home.

Going back to Manny Machado, a team official was quoted this week as saying that it would take 35 years to find another player the quality of he (Machado). That’s why I say that the best way forward is to keep him. However there are also reports out there that while the Orioles almost signed him a few years ago, they insulted him with a low ball offer. And I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how true that could possibly be…

…we didn’t start getting into the big contract numbers ($300-$400 million) until this year. At the time, the Orioles were reportedly $8-$9 million away from what Manny wanted. It seems to me that at some point they could meet in the middle. However that aside, my prediction is that the Orioles do in fact make Machado a legitimate offer sometime between the end of this season and next year’s all-star break. Whether he takes that offer is up to him, but that’s just my prediction.

The Tampa series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Jeremy Hellickson (himself a former Tampa Ray) gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado walks it off early

When the Baltimore Orioles finish up a game well after midnight, it’s not late, it’s early. Last night’s game began with a two hour and fifteen minute rain delay before things even got started. But eventually they did, and fans saw Jeremy Hellickson be ineffective. Hellickson’s line: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 5 R (3 earned), 4 BB, 1 K.

However the O’s did have an early (or was it late?) lead. Mancini plated a run on an RBI-single in the last of the first. However the top of the third was almost back-breaking for the Birds. It certainly was for Hellickson, needless to say. New York plated six runs before the smoke cleared. To top it off, Jones dropped a routine pop fly in center, which attests to the two unearned runs.

However keep in mind that this is a resilient Orioles team. Furthermore while the clock said it was late, it was still early in the game. And the Orioles knew that. Apparently New York did not.

Manny Machado smacked a solo homer in the last of the third to bring the Birds back to within 6-2. Two innings later Jonathan Schoop added one of his own, and the lead was down to 6-3. However when you’re attempting to come back in a game solo homers only go so far. And that’s why Mark Trumbo decided to smack a two-run shot in the sixth, and suddenly it was 6-5.

And that brings us to the ninth inning, which as I said in reality was actualy “early.” This is a situation in which the Orioles being a veteran team who’s been in pennant races in the past really did them well. New York is young and many of their players don’t have much experience under the bright lights of these late season games. Especially ones that start so late…and end so early!

With two outs in the ninth Beckham took a walk against NY’s Betances. That brought Manny Machado to the plate, representing the winning run. Perhaps in the grand scheme of the season this game will be lost in the shuffle, and ultimately won’t mean anything. But anytime you have an opportunity to walk off the New York Yankees, you take it.

And that’s exactly what Manny Machado did, as he smacked a walk off two-run homer to left center, giving the O’s a 7-6 win. With the victoy, the O’s now stand only one game out of the wild card. Anaheim currently holds that spot, with Minnesota only a half game back. And then the O’s are a full game back. So…it’s on.

The series concludes this evening at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Sonny Gray. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles win a frustrating game on Manny Machado’s walk off homer

The Baltimore Orioles were pushed to the brink yesterday by Oakland. That team seriously wouldn’t quit, and they never saw themselves as out of the game. Remember what I wrote about yesterday; if you don’t rise up and take what’s yours, don’t be surprised when someone else who may not be as good but is hungrier than you does. That almost happened again yesterday – almost. Then Manny Machado stepped to the plate.

Dylan Bundy was dominant for six innings yesterday. He lost it a bit in the seventh and was eventually pulled. But he dominated a pesky Oakland lineup who’s attitude was that they weren’t going to be denied. Bundy’s line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 8 K.

The O’s had the lead from the third inning on (until the end) in this one. Mancini’s three-run homer in the third inning gave them a 3-0 lead. And honestly, it appeared that they were off to the races and weren’t looking back. Flaherty, who returned from the DL yesterday, made an immediate impact in the fourth with an RBI-single as well.

Oakland would get a run back in the sixth on an RBI-single, however Welington Castillo would provide what appeared to be the coup de grace for Oakland. His two-run homer in the bottom of that sixth inning gave the Birds a 6-1 lead. The O’s appeared to be on cruise control.

And ultimately, that was the problem. They felt that their jobs were done for the day, and in fairness at 6-1 going into the later innings that may not have been a bad feeling. But Oakland just doesn’t give up, and they ended up pushing the Orioles to the brink by just chipping away here and there.

They put three runs up in the seventh against Bundy, which seemed easily explainable because Bundy was tiring. However they also got a two-run homer by Joyce in the eighth, which brought them to within 6-5. The Birds also got one back on a Chris Davis home run in the last of the eighth, and again it appeared that could have been a fatal blow.

But as I said, these guys just refused to quit. They put two runs up in the ninth against closer Zach Britton, tying the game and ending his streak of games without blowing a save at 60. It’s a shame that happened, but the fact is that it’s a footnote since the Orioles ended up winning. The downside is that Britton is getting an MRI on his knee today due to some discomfort he’s been feeling. That’s obviously not good.

Luckily for the Orioles however, the home team bats last. Neither team seemed able to put anything across in the first two extra frames. But Manny Machado led off the last of the twelfth and smacked the ball out of the ballpark for a walk off homer and an 8-7 victory.

Oakland pushed the Orioles as far as they could have without beating them yesterday. This is something on which the Orioles really need to work – in terms of taking what’s theirs. You can be the greatest team on earth, however if you hit the cruise control button and you’re playing a team with the mentality that they’re world-beaters, you’re going to find yourself in trouble. But at the end of the day, the O’s took two-of-three from a subpar Oakland team. And maybe this game is the launching point of an epic September for all we know.

Baltimore Orioles’ magic by Manny Machado in grand fashion

Manny Machado demonstrated one of the reasons why the Baltimore Orioles need to sign him to a long-term deal last night. And by any means necessary at that. The Birds can’t allow Machado to walk; not for what he does in the field, and not for what he can do at the plate. Machado is a prime time player, and he demonstrated that in grand fashion last night.

Home run was the word of the day at the yard last night. Jeremy Hellickson dug the O’s into an early hole, however the fact is that the ball flew out of Oriole Park all night on both sides. Hellickson’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Hellickson was throwing strikes – if anything, he was getting too much of the plate. Before having played an inning-and-a-half, Anaheim had hit three home runs and the O’s trailed 5-0.

Mark Trumbo‘s solo homer in the last of the second got the Orioles on the board and cut the Anaheim lead to 5-1. One inning later Caleb Joseph added a solo shot, followed by a two-run homer by Machado. Suddenly the O’s were right in the thick of the game, trailing only 5-4.

But Anaheim’s a team that has it’s share of weapons, one of which is a guy named Trout. He smacked a two-run homer in the fifth to give his team a 7-4 lead over the Orioles. That could have been the coup de grace in a sense. But maybe the O’s learned from playing games out on the west coast against pesky teams. It’s not really over until it’s over.

Machado would foreshadow his eventual heroics in the last of the fifth with his second home run of the game, this one a solo shot. That cut the Anaheim lead to 7-5, but the O’s still had work to do. The Orioles’ pen held things where they were through until the last of the ninth. And as we know, the home team bats last.

The Birds had the bases loaded after two hits and a walk with one gone. And that brought Machado to the plate, trailing 7-5. When a guy comes up in that situation who’s already smacked two homers, it’s in the backs of people’s minds that he might smack a third. But…does the law of averages not say that odds are it won’t happen? Orioles fans would have settled for a single, which probably would have tied the game. But instead…

…they were in fact treated to Machado’s third home run of the game – this one a grand slam. And a walk off grand slam at that! Both the Birds and the fans went home happy last night, with the Orioles winning in shocking comeback fashion, by the score of 9-7.

After the game Machado said all of the right things in that he was trying to take what the defense would give him. However it had to be in the back of his mind that he could end the game (in grand fashion) – and he did (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli, mlb.com):

You try to get one [run in] at least. That’s my mentality going up there, which is at least, ‘Get one guy in with less than two outs,’ with a guy like that. Just put the ball up in the air. I’ve been fortunate to have a little more power and get a little stronger as the years go on and those fly balls keep going a little bit.

At the end of the day, that’s a great win for the Orioles. And a great moment for Manny Machado. Again, the Orioles need to see him and this situation for what they are. Through any means necessary, Machado needs to be an Oriole in the long term.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Anaheim’s JC Romero. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado get back on track

Unlike in the finale in Oakland, the Baltimore Oriole’ offense showed up in the opener in Seattle last night. They also got a quality start out of Kevin Gausman, who’s really been coming into his own of late. Gausman’s line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K.

Tim Beckham set the trend for the game when he smacked the first pitch out of the ballpark in the top of the first. However in the wake of that it appeared that the Birds were in for a dog fight. Seattle would score on an RBI-double in the last of the first to tie the game. They also had runners at second and third with nobody out. Yet Gausman pitched out of it, and the game remained tied.

And the Birds took the lead back immediately for good. Chris Davis’ RBI-double in the second gave them a 2-1 lead. Davis would later score on a fielder’s choice, and the O’s led 3-1.

However the big damage wasn’t done until later in that inning. Manny Machado smacked a grand slam, which broke the game wide open and gave the Birds a 7-1 lead. As I said, Oriole bats came untracked in this game.

Chris Davis would add an RBI-single in the fifth. He would later score on a two-run homer by Seth Smith. Mancini would add an additional solo homer of his own in the seventh, When the dust settled, the O’s handed Seattle an 11-3 loss.

The O’s are two games out of the second wild card spot. But Seattle is right behind them. So this was a huge game and this is a huge series overall. The O’s need to take two-of-three at a minimum. They got off to a good start last night.

In order to take two-of-three, the bats need to remain hot. They can’t be inconsistent, especially seeing that Seattle is a pretty decent team.  Sunday they weren’t really up for the challenge. Last night they were. That’s how it needs to continue to be.

The series continues this evening from Seattle’s Safeco Field. Wade Miley gets the start for the Orioles. Seattle will counter with Andrew Albers. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Some days you’re the bug

The Baltimore Orioles found themselves to be “the bug” yesterday in Oakland. You know the old saying; some days you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug. However the O’s need to figure out how to cease switching between the two – and quick – if they’re going to stay in the race. Let me rephrase that; they need to cease switching between the two and become mainly the windshield.

Jeremy Hellickson made it through five innings, however it was the fourth that did in him and the O’s. Hellickson’s line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K. The O’s held the lead in this game – early on, at least. They got RBI-singles from Schoop and Davis in the first and second innings respectively. And it looked like the Birds were picking up right where they left off on Saturday night.

However Oakland’s Healy provided an RBI-double in the in the last of the fourth, and Olson reached on a fielder’s choice which scored a run. That tied the game at two. However later in the inning Chapman came to the plate with two on, and promptly smacked a ball out of the ballpark. It wasn’t a deep shot by any means, but the story of the Orioles’ season is other teams getting fat on bloops, seeing eye singles, and cheapie-type home runs.

Oakland would add a run an inning later on a sac fly-RBI. Joyce would later add a two-run homer, and Olson a solo shot before Oakland was finished for the day. Those were sandwiched around Manny Machado‘s solo homer in the eighth inning. The final of course ended up being 9-3 in favor of Oakland.

In the entire series, yesterday’s game was the only one in which the Orioles may not have really had a shot to win. Even still, they did have an early lead. However what I’m saying is that the score was a bit lopsided at the end. They had a lead in the eighth on Friday that was blown – if not for that, the Birds would have taken three-of-four from Oakland.

Mind you, Oakland’s a team that’s in full rebuilding mode. So the O’s should have been able to handle themselves in that sense this weekend. But some days you’re the windshield, and some days you’re the bug.

The O’s now head to Seattle for a three-game set. Kevin Gausman gets the start in the series opener tonight for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Yovani Gallardo. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.