Showalter on Machado: “He’s really been tested with a lot of strike calls”

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado didn’t get a hit in four at-bats last night. He also didn’t get his blood pressure up due to another expanded strike zone.

Machado’s been ejected only once this season for arguing balls and strikes - say the magic word and win a seat in the clubhouse - but he’s nearly bitten through his tongue to avoid others.

The frustration may not show on his youthful face or his demeanor, but it’s churning inside of him.

“I had a little sitdown with him the other day,” manager Buck Showalter said earlier this week. “If I thought it was like it used to be, where umpires would test rookies, I would be a lot more paranoid about it. There’s a difference between being paranoid and alert.

“I’m very protective of guys like Manny. He’s really been tested with a lot of strike calls. Let’s put it that way. It’s been very frustrating for him. I go back and look at it, because I try to see if guys have validity in their arguments, and he does, OK? How he handles that ...”

Machado isn’t technically a rookie this season, but Showalter’s point remains the same.

“There’s 70-probably pitches a night they can call a ball or a strike and the grade will be the same, because they give them that much off the plate. We could debate what that’s all about. But he’s handled it pretty well,” Showalter said.

“It’s gotten a little frustrating for him, some of the pitches. My point to him was, I said, ‘Don’t let them win. Whoever they may be. The pitcher, the umpire, whatever. Don’t let them win by letting them affect your at-bat and the way you go about things.’ “

Machado seems to be winning that battle, judging by his .315 average, 126 hits, 39 doubles and 36 multi-hit games. He has 14 games with three or more hits, which leads the majors.

Machado has never faced left-hander Mark Buehrle, who starts tonight for the Blue Jays.

Nick Markakis is 13-for-31 (.419) with three doubles and two home runs against Buehrle. Nolan Reimold is 5-for-9 with two doubles and a home run. He can serve as the designated hitter again tonight while Chris Dickerson rests his left shoulder.

Chris Tillman is 2-2 with a 4.07 ERA in seven career starts against the Blue Jays. He’s made two starts against them at Camden Yards, allowing only three earned runs in 13 2/3 innings for a 1.98 ERA.

Jose Bautista is 6-for-15 with a double and two home runs against Tillman.

Anyone else looking forward to the possibility of Bautista facing reliever Darren O’Day? They have a past, you know?

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