Baltimore Orioles: Did Manny Machado set the tone?


The Baltimore Orioles had an opportunity tonight to take an early lead with Manny Machado at third base with one out. Steve Pearce sent a blooper behind second base – which appeared poised to fall in. However Tampa second baseman Forsythe made a fantastic sliding catch. Those types of balls fall in when the O’s are in the field, but when the roles are reversed the opposition makes an amazing play.

Courtesy Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

However the gist of the moment is that Machado neglected to tag up at third. My personal opinion he would have scored had he ran. Mind you, it wasn’t the worst decision of all time because it was in fact a blooper. However it might well have set the tone for the evening, although the fact is that Chris Tillman didn’t have a good night so it might not have mattered. Tillman’s line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

Tampa of course made the Orioles pay for this potential lapse by Machado, as Loney’s RBI-single gave them a 1-0 lead. Arencibia, who was with the Birds in spring training, later would plate two with a two-RBI-single, and Sizemore’s fielder’s choice-RBI would run it to 4-0. By game’s end, Arencibia would have six RBI.

And incidentally, I’ll spare you the rest of the details, short of saying that Chris Davis‘ two-run homer in the ninth spared the Orioles from being shut out. Instead they fell 11-2. There’s really not one thing that we can pin point as the reason all of this is happening to this team right now, but I keep going back to the point that I think there are some very tired bats. This roster has also undergone some stark changes this season, with the likes of Lough and Snider (among others) finding themselves DFA’d at points along the way.

It’s fair to point out that a flurry of moves as such not only cut down on the number of players with experience that were available, but also meant that the clubhouse has been a bit of a carousel. Incidentally that’s part of why it’s so tough to make the playoffs at the minor league level; the rosters and the makeup of the team are in a constant state of flux.

However while it’s tough to point at one moment in a game that was lost 11-0, that fundamental mistake with Machado at third base in the third inning is worth re-visiting. In general I applaud players and coaches for NOT taking risks. But I do believe in taking a calculated risk, and given that Forsythe had to lay all the way out to make that play I thought he would have been safe at home plate. Did it cost the Orioles the game? Absolutely not. Did it potentially set the tone? Perhaps.

This is not to say that the effort wasn’t there on Machado’s part. I would chalk it up to a momentary lapse in judgement if anything. I can tell you that I’ve done things like that in my own life more times than I care to admit. In no way does it mean that there’s no effort on the part of the players, or that they’ve just mailed it in. It was just a mistake. One guy that I know hasn’t mailed it in is Chris Davis, who made a diving stop that probably saved a run in the eighth inning.

The series and the homestand concludes tonight, however the Orioles haven’t yet announced a starter. However they’ll face Tampa’s Erasmo Ramirez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: Was Dan Duquette wrong to stand on principle?

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