BOSTON - The tarp came off the Fenway Park field tonight with about 40 minutes to go before the first pitch. The Red Sox say the game will start at 7:10 p.m. as scheduled.
The window to play is here.
Jonathan Schoop said he was made aware of his pursuit of Brian Roberts’ club record for home runs by a second baseman, but not until they were tied with 92. Schoop set the Orioles record last night with his solo shot in the seventh inning.
“It means a lot,” he said. “It’s a great honor. When I hit the home run at home, they told me that I tied him and I had a chance to pass him, so I was aware of it. It’s a great honor to pass B-Rob. He was one of the guys who taught me a lot of things that I know now. And I feel good to accomplish that. There’s many more to come and (something) you want to achieve by yourself, but you want to achieve like a team goal, too. You want to get a ring or whatever. But it’s a great honor.”
Consider the roll call of Orioles second basemen through the years, a list that also includes Davey Johnson and Bobby Grich. Schoop has played in 574 games. Roberts played in 1,327 before signing with the Yankees for the 2014 season. Grich hit 70 home runs for the Orioles in 786 games and Johnson hit 66 in 995 games before erupting for 43 with the Braves in 1973.
“He’s done it in a lot less time,” manager Buck Showalter said of Schoop. “Because Manny (Machado) has been and is so good, sometimes it kind of gets overshadowed what Jon’s done here in a short time at a young age. You start talking about second baseman around baseball, Jon’s got to be in the discussion. What does he not do?’
“Really, just a quality kid, too. He’s a guy you’re really going to be able to trust as his career goes forward. The contracts, money, nothing’s going to drive him other than just playing. He’s going to be fun to watch. I think people, especially when he gets out and goes to different industry functions, people are going to go, ‘Wow, this guy’s pretty special.”
The Orioles are 6-4 with Schoop, 26, in the lineup. An oblique injury cost him a significant chunk.
“I feel things are turning a little bit,” he said. “One game, we score like 17 runs and we’re playing better. I’m here to bring energy and smile out there and play relaxed and have fun. We know we can do better. We hope we can keep it up and we hope we can get on a streak and win a lot of games.”
After noting how many losses piled up for the club, Schoop added, “We can win 15 in a row.”
As Schoop’s tenure increases in the majors, so does his leadership role.
“Jon’s pretty confident,” Showalter said. “Believe me, behind the scenes Jon says what needs to be said. Pretty blunt, too. And he’s probably as coachable a kid as we have. He doesn’t like failure. He’s willing to do the work, too.”
Schoop and Manny Machado arrived together at Fenway Park as they usually do on the road. Schoop doesn’t want to consider the possibility that his close friend could be gone in a few weeks, or leave as a free agent over the winter.
“I’m not thinking about it. I don’t want to even think about it,” he said. “It’s fun for him to do good and help us win, help the team win. I don’t want to think that he’s leaving or nothing. Just want him to do good and help us win and try to win with this team together.
“You never know what’s going to happen this winter, so I’m enjoying every day.”
Machado enters tonight game second in the American League with a .347 average, tied with Mookie Betts in home runs with 14 and hits with 59 and first in RBIs with 42. Betts leads AL with a .371 average.
“That’s why they’re MVP, in the category of MVP,” Schoop said. “Manny’s Manny and Mookie’s doing his thing. It’s fun to watch, especially Manny. I’ve played with him since the minor leagues. I know what he can do. It’s fun to watch when he’s up. He’s the best hitter in the game.”
Schoop’s return to the lineup has provided some protection for Machado, who bats one spot ahead of him. Machado’s seven intentional walks lead the AL and are second in the majors. Also, his .671 slugging percentage is second in the majors, his 18 multi-hit games are tied for third in the AL and fourth in the majors and his 114 total bases are second in the majors.
“I’ve seen him in some good stretches, too,” Schoop said. “Last year, in the second half it was a good stretch. He did really good. But this is fun to see him, fun to watch it and (every) time he steps in there, I think he’s going to hit the ball hard somewhere.
“He’s hitting the ball hard but he’s finding the hole too. That’s what’s good about it.”
Showalter provided some injury updates, including how Chris Tillman (back) will throw off flat ground Monday in Sarasota.
“Just get a ball in his hand. Play catch, probably some long toss. Will be the first time,” Showalter said.
Darren O’Day, on the disabled list with a hyperextended right elbow, threw on flat ground today and “he’s improved, he’s close,” Showalter said. “It’s just a matter of when he feels ... Like he said today, ‘If I had to, I could push it,’ but we really want to get it right the first time. He’s still got a little discomfort left there.”
Tim Beckham, who underwent core muscle surgery, threw from 90 feet today, jogged and took some dry swings.
Colby Rasmus was sore today after playing in two straight extended spring games. He’s on the DL with a hip injury.
“He just treated today, which wasn’t part of that plan,” Showalter said. “He’s a little sore from all the action, so they kind of backed a little off. Not a setback or anything, just slowed down.”
Gabriel Ynoa (shoulder) threw a side session today.
The starter for Sunday depends on whether tonight’s game is played. Dylan Bundy would be pushed back if there’s a postponement. Otherwise, Showalter has made a decision between David Hess and Miguel Castro, but he’s not ready to reveal it.
It’s possible that Hess could come up either way, as a starter or long reliever behind Castro.
“We’re in place to handle it both ways,” Showalter said. “There’s some rules you have to follow that we’re going to follow. You won’t see someone in his locker room tonight who hasn’t been here.”
Here are the starters for the four-game series against the White Sox in Chicago:
Update: The Orioles loaded the bases in the third inning and Schoop’s sacrifice fly gave them a 1-0 lead.
Update II: Rafael Devers hit an opposite-field home run off Bundy with two outs in the fourth to tie the game 1-1.
Update III: Betts hit a two-run homer off Bundy in the fifth to give Boston a 3-1 lead. Andrew Benintendi followed with a shot into the visiting bullpen for a 4-1 lead.
Update IV: Pedro Álvarez’s two-run homer in the sixth reduced the lead to 4-3.
Update V: Benintendi’s two-run single off Tanner Scott following two walks increased the lead to 6-3. Bundy allowed four runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in six innings.