NEW YORK - Manny Machado turns 21 today. No more jokes about not being able to legally order a beer.
Machado’s nine-game hitting streak ended last night. Has nothing to do with his age.
Jim Johnson has walked 14 batters this season. He walked 15 in 2012. He’s not getting the ball down, he’s falling behind in the count and he’s either walking batters or giving up hits.
Anyone who’s waiting for manager Buck Showalter to publicly criticize Johnson - say, during O’s Xtra - knows nothing about Showalter or how a manager avoids losing an entire clubhouse. It will not happen. It should not happen.
Should Johnson get the ball in a save situation today? I’d go with Tommy Hunter or Darren O’Day while emphasizing that Johnson will get other opportunities. You don’t completely bail on a guy who went 51 for 54 last season. It’s just time to share the load for a while.
The last Orioles starter to win as many as eight straight was Erik Bedard from June 21-Aug. 21, 2007, when he won nine in a row. The last Orioles right-hander to win seven straight was Mike Mussina, who won eight in a row from April 11-June 9, 1997.
Matusz hasn’t pitched since June 27. He warmed up Thursday afternoon in Chicago, but Hunter was allowed to face Adam Dunn in the bottom of the ninth and surrendered a walk-off home run. He remained in the bullpen last night while Johnson walked Travis Hafner - also a left-handed batter - on four pitches to force in the tying run.
Matusz is fine physically. He just hasn’t been used lately.
Nate McLouth hasn’t stolen a base since June 19 and was caught stealing on his only other attempt on June 22.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy kept flexing his right shoulder between pitches in the bottom of the eighth inning after throwing out Vernon Wells. At times, he would remove his glove and swing both arms back and forth.
Hardy kept flexing and rubbing his shoulder between pitches late in Thursday’s game. Have to assume he’s dealing with some soreness or stiffness.
The Orioles must make a decision on first baseman Travis Ishikawa by Monday. He was designated for assignment on June 29 when the Orioles recalled pitcher Jair Jurrjens.
A few clubs are interested in Ishikawa, who could be traded or claimed off waivers. The Orioles would like the chance to outright him to Triple-A Norfolk, but he would refuse the assignment and become a free agent.
In his last four starts at Norfolk, Tsuyoshi Wada has allowed six runs, walked four and struck out 20 in 24 2/3 innings. He’s becoming more of an option for the Orioles if they need another starter, though they appear set at the moment with Wei-Yin Chen prepared to come off the disabled list.
The Orioles haven’t scouted Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who’s been throwing bullpen sessions in Mexico, but it still could happen. Fred Ferreira, the club’s executive director of international recruiting, returned from Holland a few days ago and said he may check out Gonzalez “shortly.”
The Orioles were among the teams interested in infielder LJ Mazzilli, son of former Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli who was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. Mazzilli is playing for short-season Single-A Brooklyn in the New York-Penn League, and he started at second base and went 1-for-5 with an RBI last night against Aberdeen.