Third baseman Manny Machado has only been up in the majors for only two games, but he is quickly becoming a face of the franchise.
Yes, again, it has only been two games, and it does not make a career; however, Machado at Oriole Park did something remarkable last night.
He hit two homers – back to – back – a solo shot, followed by a three-run homer, and the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Kansas City Royals, 7-1.
In a year of the improbable for the Orioles, could Machado, at the ripe old age of 20, help the Orioles get into the playoffs? Anaheim has Mike Trout, Washington has Bryce Harper, and maybe Baltimore has a young star of their own in Machado.
Last night as special as a fan to witness in person, as I got to see a kid I’ve heard some much about; however, I’ve only seen him play twice – both times in Sarasota during Spring Training.
Machado looks like he belongs out there with everyone else in the majors, and it was just electric being at Camden Yards.
If Machado keeps up his heroics, he will be a immensely popular person in town real soon.
With Machado now in the show, he has to play – every day. With all apologies to Wilson Betemit and Mark Reynolds, but it is Machado’s time now to shine.
If he fails, he fails and gets sent back to the minors; however, from what I’ve seen so far, Machado may never see the lower levels of professional baseball again.
Of course, Machado’s feat entirely overshadowed the work of Miguel Gonzalez, who had yet another strong start on the mound. He went eight innings, gave up a run, and earned his fourth victory of the season.
Gonzalez – much like Machado – is another guy who was summoned from the minors to help a team that has seemingly gotten to where they are by patching things together. He has delivered time and time again on the mound, and it is surprising how far the Orioles have gotten with guys like him.
As well, the offense broke out as well too. Omar Quintanilla – who too was overlooked on the night – had three hits and a two run homer in the second inning. Wilson Betemit scored two runs, and Nate McLouth had two hits.
It has been an phenomenal year and things with the Orioles truly seem to be different. I don’t think there will be an August swoon as the Orioles seem to be playing with a lot of confidence and seem to have gotten the shadow of perpetual losing off their back.
They are 61-52 – a feat that would have been considered unfathomable in the winter – into the second week of August. The Orioles trail the New York Yankees by 5 ½ games in the American League East and have sole possession of the second wild card spot, tied with the Detroit Tigers.
Finally, only north of 17,000 people attended the game last night at Camden Yards. I was stunned to see the lack of people at the park.
Considering it was a night where there was no threat of rain, and temperatures in the 80’s, view of empty seats at Camden Yards were confounding. I was listening to Steve Melewski’s show on 105.7 the Fan last driving home, and that was a topic of debate.
It was fascinating to hear some of the reasons – from the valid to the silly – but, the bottom line is this: for a team in the playoff hunt for the first time in a extraordinarily long time, you would think there would be more support.
No one should tell fans what to do with their money or demand they come out to the park; however, the Orioles are looking to play in October and have played well beyond expectations.
I would think fans -- in spite of things, the economy, grievances with ownership, football around the corner - would be excited.
Hopefully, more people show up as the season comes to a conclusion.