Going for the sweep, Minor on Machado

The Orioles will attempt to break out the brooms tonight in an unusual four-game series that started on Friday.

How often does a team play a road game on Sunday and remain in the city overnight?

Better to do it in Chicago than, say, Detroit.

Jeremy Guthrie is sporting a 1-3 record, which clashes with his 2.53 ERA. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five starts.

Guthrie is 3-4 with a 4.36 ERA lifetime against the White Sox. Paul Konerko is 5-for-24 with a double and two homers. A.J. Pierzynski is 6-for-19 with three doubles. Alexei Ramirez is 1-for-14 with a double.

The Orioles will take their cuts against Mark Buehrle, who’s 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA and has lost three consecutive starts since shutting out the Athletics on two hits over eight innings back on April 11.

Buehrle is 5-5 with a 2.97 ERA lifetime against the Orioles. Vladimir Guerrero is 12-for-33 (.364) with two doubles, four homers and six RBIs. Derrek Lee, who struck out four times yesterday, is 6-for-16 (.375) with two doubles, a homer, four RBIs and seven strikeouts.

Nick Markakis is 10-for-23 (.435) with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs. Brian Roberts is 13-for-30 (.333) with two doubles, a homer and three RBIs. Matt Wieters is 3-for-8 with a double and two RBIs.

I wouldn’t expect Felix Pie to stay in the lineup, but he’s 4-for-8 with two homers and three RBIs. Perhaps manager Buck Showalter could squeeze him in there again tonight.

I’ve been asked numerous times whether shortstop Manny Machado could make the jump to Double-A Bowie this year. I haven’t been given a definite timetable for his promotion to the Eastern League - the Orioles aren’t chiseling dates in stone and sending out press releases - but I’ve made the assumption that Machado would spend half of the season at low Single-A Delmarva and the other half at high Single-A Frederick.

Reliever Dan Klein, a third-round pick last year, moved up to Bowie today, but he was drafted out of UCLA. Machado is an 18-year-old kid.

We’ll see how it plays out. The South Atlantic League doesn’t seem to be providing much competition for him these days, but there’s certainly no rush to move him. He’s still going through a learning process, no matter what he hits.

Boy, is he hitting.

Machado is batting .337 with six doubles, two triples, five homers, 20 RBIs, 19 runs scored and a 1.090 OPS in 22 games. As I wrote yesterday, he’s got five homers and 12 RBIs in his last seven games.

“So far, in the field, he’s been everything I expected defensively,” said Delmarva manager and former Orioles third baseman Ryan Minor. “He has great hands, good feet and is really mature for his age out there. You wouldn’t expect him to handle certain situations the way he has, which is a credit to his athletic ability and baseball instincts.

“At the plate, he’s been a pleasant surprise for the most part. I didn’t think coming in that you could expect him to put up huge, gaudy numbers. He’s starting to hit fastballs inside, at the inner third of the plate, with authority. And he’s taking some pitches that you wouldn’t think an 18 year old would take against good, quality college arms. Offensively, the guy’s only going to improve, and as he gets stronger, he’ll have more power numbers.

“He’s done really well. I don’t want to say it’s a surprise, because he’s going to be a good hitter, but he doesn’t swing at a first-pitch breaking ball in the dirt, for the most part. He doesn’t swing at a pitch he doesn’t think he can handle. And he’s not afraid to swing with two strikes. He’s a patient hitter. He looks to get into a hitter’s count, and when he gets a pitch, he squares it up.”

I told Minor that former Orioles shortstop and current instructor Mike Bordick praised Machado last year for being extremely coachable and bringing the right attitude to the field each day. Minor completely understood where Bordick was coming from, recognizing those same traits.

“This kid has been a joy to have around,” Minor said. “He understands that he still needs to get better and he wants to get better. And he’s a great teammate. I haven’t seen too many high picks be one of the guys and take everything in stride.

“I’ve talked to him on several different occasions about different situations, and he picks it up right away and goes right out and does it. One little thing in the infield that we noticed, we talked to him for two or three minutes, and the next four or five nights in a row he put it in play and did what we asked and it made him a better ballplayer. If he continues to do what he’s doing here, he can be a really special player.”


Minor hears the comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, and while he doesn’t want to heap extra pressure on Machado, it’s hard to ignore some similarities.

“They have a lot of the same mannerisms, but if you’re saying he’s a young Alex Rodriguez, you would have to go back to when (Rodriguez) was 16 to compare, since he was in the majors at 18,” Minor said. “Manny’s going to fill out, he’s going to get bigger. He’s thin, but he has a good frame, good actions, good hands. He’ll be a guy who will fill out and be a really special type of player.

“For me, any comparisons have to go along the lines of Alex Rodriguez because of his mannerisms and being so mature for his age and taking care of himself.”

Machado doesn’t grade out the way Rodriguez did as a high school player, but who does? Just being Manny Machado should be plenty good enough.

blog comments powered by Disqus