Monday musings on close games, Granderson and Machado

Hitting on some Monday topics, as we now have some actual boxscores to look at and we all look forward to today’s first MASN telecast, when the Orioles play the Yankees at 1 p.m with a rebroadcast set for 7 p.m. tonight.

The slim wins: There is no truth to the rumor that the Orioles were answering some of their critics by winning their first one-run game of the exhibition season yesterday. Yes, they won again by one run.

We all know, barring something that would be historic, the Orioles cannot produce a win percentage of .763 in one-run games again this season. They went 29-9 last year. But I don’t think, like some seem to, that there is a direct correlation between a dropoff in one-run win percentage and overall win percentage.

Do you know which team led the American League in one-run win percentage in 2010? It was the Orioles, going 29-21 for a .580 mark. That helped them to a record of 66-96.

No doubt the one-run wins were a big factor last year, but a lesser win percentage in those games just means the team will have to make it up somewhere else. The team still has what should be one of the league’s best bullpens and a manager who can really pull the strings late in the game to help in those close games again this year.

Right now, the Grandy man can’t: The New York Yankees have become the first team to come up with one of the first key injuries of spring training. Outfielder Curtis Granderson will miss 10 weeks after being hit by a pitch in the first inning Sunday that caused a fracture to his right forearm. The play actually looked kind of similar to the one last year that ended Nick Markakis’ season in September.

No doubt the Bronx Bombers have plenty of time to come up with a backup plan and acquire someone else should they choose to. We can expect them to be linked to trade rumors daily now. Granderson produced 84 homers and 225 RBIs the past two years.

ESPN’s Buster Olney posted this on Twitter Sunday: “As the Yankees’ 2013 season begins, players responsible for 162 of the team’s 245 homers last year won’t be available to them.”

Granderson had an unusual stat line last season. While he hit 43 homers and drove in 106 runs, he batted just .232 with an OBP of .319, just 18 doubles and 195 strikeouts.

Where should Manny bat?: There seem to be some fans out there that feel the Orioles should move Manny Machado up in the order this year, perhaps even somewhere in the middle of the order.

I think it is too soon for that. Machado has played just 51 big league games and his time to move up in the lineup is coming, just probably not yet.

Last year, he had 15 at-bats batting sixth, 54 hitting seventh, 73 batting eighth and 49 at-bats hitting last. He posted his best numbers batting eighth, hitting .315 with three homers, 11 RBIs and an .853 OPS.

Right now, the O’s have others to bat third through sixth. Manny’s time to move into a more prominent spot in the order is surely coming, but when?

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