Orioles fans have waited a long time for this much excitement at this point in the season. If the season ended today the team would be in the playoffs. Oh yeah, and Manny Machado was called up to the big leagues.
Conspiracy theories aside, the Orioles quite frankly needed someone who could play third base. Wilson Betemit has been downright abysmal defensively and Robert Andino just doesn’t contribute enough on the offensive end. Rumors were swirling that the team may try to acquire Padres third baseman Chase Headley but nothing ever materialized. Machado has been called upon to be the solution.
Machado was batting .266/.352/.438 with 11 home runs and 26 doubles for Double A Bowie this year. He had only played 2 games at third base for the Baysox but said he had been practicing the position all year. In his 7 defensive chances at the position he has made 1 error.
A lot of pressure is on the young 20 year old’s shoulders tonight as he starts at third base and bats 9th but he isn’t fazed by it saying he will “just go out there and have fun” and not put too much pressure on himself. He even thinks it may be a little easier knowing that here he is “just a regular third baseman, young 20 year old trying to make to the league and play and stay here.”
There are many veterans on this team that will be able to help Machado grow and get better through the rest of the season. Adam Jones was called up at a similar age. He said he told Manny last night “to come here, be himself and have fun.” It seems Manny has taken that advice to heart saying he won’t be changing anything about his game.
Machado said he had been aiming for a September call up but that it wasn’t his main goal. Being called up during a playoff race is even sweeter for him. “It means a lot” he said, “It means Buck has faith in me. It means he has trust in me that I can out there and help (this team win).” Showalter does have faith in him. “The only reason we did it — biggest reason — was because we think he help us win games potentially. We’ll see. We’ll run him out there tonight and see what happens.
“Everyone should be nervous on their first game. I mean I’m 20 years old. I think after that first pitch is thrown, the butterflies will go away.” He seems focused, much like a lot of players on the roster. For now that’s all we know. We will see if the Orioles have caught lightning in a bottle with this youngster.