The Orioles’ double play duo looks ready to start the year. Machado is batting .425/.465/.775 this spring, going 17-for-40 with three homers and 15 RBIs. He had a double in Friday’s 4-4 tie in Port St. Lucie with the Mets.
“You know what? I just try to be consistent,” Machado said. “Try to be consistent with everything every day, don’t try to switch up and turn off for the day or try to look for something wrong. Try to stay with everything I’ve been working with this offseason, continue doing it now and going forward.”
He’s never even hit over .300 during spring training and was a career .237 spring hitter coming into this season. Meanwhile, Schoop is batting .405/.476/.865 with five homers and eight RBIs. He’s hit four homers his past six games.
In a brief interview with a few Baltimore reporters late in Friday’s game, Machado covered a lot of ground.
He said he was impressed with right-hander Andrew Cashner, who has allowed one run over nine innings in two games.
“Hard in the zone, throwing strikes, keeping his defense active and throwing a lot of strikes. He’s pounding the zone,” Machado said. “He’s getting it on the ground, striking guys out, making us play, working quick. It’s fun to play behind him. Hopefully, he can keep it up.”
He talked about Tim Beckham’s solid defense at third base in camp.
“Man, it’s been awesome,” Machado said. “It’s been amazing. It looks like he’s been playing there his whole career. Hopefully, he can keep it up. He’s a hard worker. He’s been working hard with Bobby (Dickerson, infield coach) and he’s going to make the plays. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people, and us as a team, we’re going to surprise a lot of people. We’ve just got to keep doing the little things, playing good defense and playing small ball as much as we can.”
He talked about the lack of recent talk of him playing shortstop. A big story early in camp, it seems much less so now.
“Yeah, you know, I go out there and I play,” Machado said. “It’s my natural position. I’ve always been able to do it. It’s just a matter of getting the repetitions. Every day that goes by, I feel better and better. I’m just looking forward to this year. It’s going to be special, and I’m going to do a lot of special things over there.”
For more Machado, here is an entry from yesterday afternoon. He discussed several topics, including Aaron Judge’s comments about him on Wednesday when the Yankees were at Ed Smith Stadium.
More from Buck: Cashner had another solid outing on Friday versus the Mets. He allowed one run and four hits over five innings, throwing 63 pitches. He was so efficient he went to the bullpen to add 15 pitches to his total.
In a short amount of time, Cashner seems to have fit in very well with his new team and emerged as a leader of a rotation that wants to prove it’s better than the very low expectations placed on it.
Manager Buck Showalter has noticed.
“I think what wore on us more than anything last year was the constant, ‘Is this going to be enough? What are we getting?’ The starts - this guy will keep us engaged in games,” Showalter said. “The other part of it, Cashner brings. Whether or not on a given night. He’ll have some challenges. It won’t be from lack of purpose and effort. He’s not afraid of the competition. He’s got a lot of ways to get people out. If you go back through the pitches today. He threw a changeup, a breaking ball. He’s not a one-way Harry (with a sinker), but he’s capable of pitching like that.”
Even though Schoop is just 26 and Machado is 25, Showalter said they have acted like leaders at times this camp. Especially when dealing with even younger players. And that reminds him of someone.
“Starting to see some real maturity with them,” Showalter said. “When you see them talking about efficiency with young players that come up here. Some guy will take a ball and flip it out of their glove when all they had to was separate it, show it and give it (on a double play exchange). To see Manny talking to them about that, that is a lot of the influence of J.J. Hardy, too.
“He and Jon, every day I watch the continued maturity. They take a lot of pride in it. I think they are really looking forward to this season together up the middle of the diamond. And so am I.”