Baltimore Orioles’ star third baseman Manny Machado showed the first signs of his young age this past week in the O’s series against the Oakland Athletics. Machado let his frustration show and caused two bench clearing altercations in three games. Most notably, Machado threw his bat down the third base line in the final game of the series. Since then, Machado has apologized for his actions, but the MLB still sees the need for punishment.
Machado was suspended five games on Tuesday for his actions. Machado appealed the suspension so he was still able to play Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox in the Orioles loss.
In the game, Machado showed signs of maturity immediately, as in the bottom of the ninth inning, with two outs, Machado swung and missed on a pitch and on his back swing hit catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the head. Machado immediately turned around to ask the catcher if he was alright, something that he did not do against he A’s where this same event happened on multiple occasions.
The suspension for Machado is of course in no way a positive for the Orioles, as having Machado in the lineup is a significant improvement over anybody else playing, especially in the field. The Orioles play one final game against Boston tonight before opening up a four game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that the Orioles could desperately use some wins against.
Having Machado likely out for the entire series against Toronto may be a positive for Manny himself. Manny has been struggling as of late, as he is 0 for his last 15 at bats. The five game suspension (whenever Machado serves it) can serve as time for Manny to clear his head and work on his approach at the plate in hopes he can turn it around when he returns. In no way would the Orioles prefer to not have Machado in the game and of course would rather have Machado work through his struggles while in the lineup as opposed to a five game suspension, but for Manny, if he uses the time off right, he may come back better than before.
Orioles’ fans are waiting for Machado to get hot like he was last year, and begin hitting doubles in the outfield gaps over, and over again. Machado’s spot in the lineup is major for the Orioles, as he is right behind leadoff man Nick Markakis who is having an incredible season, and right in front of the three man power section of the lineup in Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, and Chris Davis.
Machado’s struggles even dropped him down to the number seven spot in the lineup for a few games and maybe some of his frustration comes from his disappointing play this season. With Machado out, shortstop J.J. Hardy is likely to bat in the number two spot in the order, as Hardy is hitting a solid .287, while still looking for his first home run of the season.