With 16 RBIs in four games, Chris Davis seemed like the appropriate person to also drive me in today, Alas, he wasn’t willing to carpool.
While replaying the eighth inning in my head, I kept coming back to the perfect sacrifice bunt from Manny Machado that led to the intentional walk to Nick Markakis, which led to Adam Jones’ RBI single, which led to Davis’ grand slam, which led to a four-run lead.
Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth singled with no outs and the Orioles down 5-4. Machado advanced both runners, and I find it noteworthy whenever a major league player can bunt without busting a finger or popping the ball into the netting.
It should be a Little League skill, but too many guys at this level treat a bunt like advanced trigonometry.
Machado, who also had an RBI single in the third inning, has hit second in the lineup in all four games. Is this spot in the order his destiny?
“I think Manny’s going to end up potentially hitting just about anywhere, probably other than one, but don’t hold me to that,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He may end up. Who knows? But our batting order and the presentation we have to the other manager and pitcher is initially what’s best there.”
The decision to bat Machado second also was tied to the second baseman, Brian Roberts, who went on the disabled list yesterday with a ruptured tendon behind his right knee.
“It also allowed me to do what I wanted to do and what I want to do with Brian initially in the season.” Showalter said. “You could see what it meant to us having him hit ninth, with Nicky (Markakis) and Nate (McLouth) and those guys right behind him. If an injury happened with Brian, you wouldn’t all of a sudden have to change everything in the lineup. I was hoping it wouldn’t happen, especially this early. But it works better for all of us right now.”
Showalter mostly batted J.J. Hardy second last year, but he vowed to lower his shortstop in the order in 2013.
“I really like J.J. where he is,” Showalter said. “You saw that (Thursday), where he ambushed somebody real quick down there. We’ll see where it takes us.
“I think Manny’s capable of hitting in a lot of places. I think with the people around him, there’s not a whole lot of heat on him. It’s a few more at-bats. That’s about the extent of hitting higher in the order.”
Shameless plug alert: It’s been a while, but I’m appearing on “Wall to Wall Baseball” from 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. today on MASN. Then I’m heading back to Camden Yards, where Chris Tillman will come off the disabled list and make his first start.
Does Jake Arrieta get optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Tillman? Would the Orioles option infielder Yamaico Navarro after one day and go with a short bench?
Showalter was discussing all the options, so to speak, with executive vice president Dan Duquette following yesterday’s game.
In case you missed it last night, outfielder Xavier Avery tied the Double-A Bowie record with five hits.