Four more strikeouts add to Machado's prolonged offensive slump - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Four more strikeouts add to Machado’s prolonged offensive slump

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

The Manny Machado spiral is continuing downward, just when it looked like he might be rounding back into the form that everyone expects from the 24-year-old star.

Machado was hitless in five at-bats with four strikeouts Tuesday in an 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. It was just the second time in his career he has fanned four times in a game – the other occurring in 2014.

After having three hits in the first two games in Houston, the Orioles third baseman has gone hitless with eight strikeouts in 13 at-bats in his following three contests.

His average has dropped to .210 – his lowest since April 26.

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“He’s the same person, we think, (that) is one of the best players in the game. I think it’s just a reminder to all of us how hard this is to do and how everybody goes through those periods,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I can name a lot of people. It doesn’t make it any more palatable or easier to take for Manny. Believe me, he’s got a lot of pride.”

In the third inning, Machado struck out swinging and slammed his helmet to the ground, a sign of obvious frustration for a player who seemingly is rarely in a prolonged slump.

“It’s frustrating for him. If you think it’s frustrating for somebody else, triple it (for Machado),” Showalter said. “Sometimes, you can want it too much. It’s a long process. It just doesn’t happen with one swing. And they pitch real well. They’re going to step on your neck when they think they’ve got you down, because they know you have, and will, do some damage again.”

Showalter said before Tuesday’s game that he’s not seriously considering moving Machado out of the third spot in the lineup until he regains his form. The manager points out that, despite the struggles, Machado leads the team in RBIs (25) and is tied for first in homers (10).

He just seems to be chasing more often than normal and that has resulted in striking out 47 times in 195 at-bats so far.

Showalter often uses the phrase that a player has “spoiled us” with high-level play in the past, so that’s why the struggles become more pronounced.

That’s specifically true with Machado, who is in a funk that is fairly unique to his splendid career, matched only by his slow start in 2014 after he came back from his first knee surgery.

It’ll take time to turn it around, Showalter said, but he’s confident Machado will.

“We’ve got to figure that out. It’s not just him. I know it’s a topic because of the level he’s spoiled us with,” Showalter said. “It’s not that easy just to say, ‘There’s a single to right and everything’s going to fine. There’s a bloop hit and everything’s going to be fine.’ This is not a quick-fix business.”

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 31, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I’ve got a problem with Manny.

    From the outside looking in, it appears to me that he might not be the most mature of 24 year old players. (not that I expect it from many 24 year olds)

    From the outside looking in … he seems to worry a little too much about the gold chains .. how he wears his socks … the florescent quality of his shoes … his post homer theatrics .. the list goes on. Instead, maybe he should worry a little more about hitting .300 for the first time in his career. I assure you, the other team’s superstars already have!

    From the outside looking in … what I’ve noticed … what I’ve “perceived” this year (rightly or not) … is the Tom Foolery he displays with members of the opposing team. He’s constantly chatting and mucking it up with the opposition … even going so far as to ‘hugging’ another team’s base runner upon his arrival at 3rd base this past week! He seems to have a love and kinship with other superstar players. It’s almost as if he wants to form a mutual admiration society of sorts! (am I the only one that has a problem with this?)

    From the outside looking in … he seems to be holding himself above the rest of the team. I hesitate to use the words “prima donna” here, but the words have crept into my head more than once. Personally, I wish Manny would be a bit more serious … outwardly display more of a killer … “us against the world” persona. And I’m not talking about slamming his helmet to the ground every time he strikes out. I’m talking maturity and leadership. Let’s start by running EVERY ground ball out, like Jones does. Let’s start by never again apologizing for sliding into another team’s superstar 2nd baseman. HE’S THE FREAKIN’ ENEMY for crying out loud!

    From the outside looking in … it appears as if the team is lacking the chemistry that seems to have been holding it together over the past ½ dozen years. Jones is still here, but Matt and Nick and even Nellie are gone. I wonder if the team needs a new/another leader? If it does, that man should be the best player on the team and not some clown mucking it up with the opposition and shucking and jiving every time he goes yard.

    Again … this is all from the outside looking in. But my impression is that Machado needs to grow up.

    • Paul Folkemer

      May 31, 2017 at 9:30 am

      I think a lot of this is overblown. Are we really going to criticize a guy for his gold chains and socks? Or for being friendly with opponents? Machado has been doing those things for years, and it didn’t stop him from being a top-10 MVP finisher three times in his career. Having flair has never affected his on-field performance.

      Granted, there have been times that Machado has shown a temper — like when he charged the mound against the Royals last year or the bat-throwing suspension against the A’s in 2014. And I think those incidents may have soured him in some fans’ minds. But I think it’s a heck of a reach to imply that he’s struggling because he hugs opposing players or doesn’t run out every ground ball.

      Right now Machado’s offensive stats are similar to Mark Trumbo’s. Why don’t we hear theories that Trumbo is struggling because he’s too “immature”?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 31, 2017 at 10:29 am

        Hey, I love the socks … Flair even .. but it’s the constant fashion show combined with other outward signals of arrogance that I have a problem with. I wonder how many of his teammates feel the same? This is NOT what leaders do.

        You mention is temper … frankly I’d rather see a whole lot more of that than the outward signs of affection he shows his competitors!

        As far a Trumbo … Why aren’t I complaining? First off, he’s a journeyman ballplayer that had a career year last year and not a ‘franchise player’. I believe that’s reflected with his current contract status, and the lack of suitors he had this offseason. And as far as signs of immaturity .. when you see one .. please let me know what it is? I don’t understand that comparison.

        • Paul Folkemer

          May 31, 2017 at 10:48 am

          That’s sort of the point. Trumbo doesn’t show any of the “immature” characteristics that you ascribe to Machado, yet Trumbo is also struggling. So maybe immaturity actually has very little to do with why players are struggling.

          Personality-wise, Machado is pretty much the same guy he’s always been, and that’s never hurt his on-field performance before. Why would it start now?

          I think the simpler explanation is that his struggles are related to swing mechanics, or plate approach, or any number of baseball-related issues. Or maybe he has a lingering injury he hasn’t discussed that’s affecting his swing. As Dan mentioned, Machado is striking out a lot and chasing pitches more.

          And yes, maybe his slump is getting into his head a bit and adding to his frustrations, but I think that can happen to even the most seasoned veteran hitters. I don’t think it means he’s immature.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            May 31, 2017 at 11:15 am

            I understand and respect all your points Paul. This may have a lot to do with the generational divide between the 2 of us. I’m admittedly an old fogie. It’s just that we (Bal’more) have put Manny Machado on a pedestal with the likes of Harper & Trout and expect so much more from him. Maybe I have no right to expect a 24 year old kid to lead a team of veterans to larger things. But I do. I expect him to be our leader very soon. But frankly, I don’t see it in Manny. I DO however, see it in Harper and Trout.

            Like our leader Mr. Connolly pointed out .. he’s the most talented player he has ever covered. Now let’s translate all that talent to production for a change. I’m not talking about his current slump either. He’s been talked about with the great young players of the game. He acts like he’s one of the great players of the game. Now can he play and comport himself like one? The jury is still out.

          • Paul Folkemer

            May 31, 2017 at 11:23 am

            I definitely agree with you there, Boog. Whatever the reasons may be, it’s certainly been a disappointing season for a guy who was expected to be one of the best players in baseball. It’s tough seeing both Harper and Trout bust loose with outstanding 2017 seasons (before Trout’s recent injury) while Machado has gone backwards.

            As you say, it’s up to Manny to prove he can still be one of the great players. There’s plenty of season left, so he’s got time to turn it around. The ball is in his court. (Oops, wrong sport.)

    • Dan Connolly

      May 31, 2017 at 10:47 am

      I’m kind of falling in the middle here. I do think there are times when you realize he is 24 and he does some pretty immature things — or reacts that way. But I really don’t care about a lot of the surface things, his uniform etc. And I do think he has matured since I first met him. He does play with passion. And that’s important. But he does need to be ready to play every pitch. He’s still learning that, I believe. He’s also the most talented, all-around player I’ve covered. And did I mention he’s 24?

      • JHHUFF76

        May 31, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        If you remember about three weeks ago, when , the Nationals announced Bryce Harpers 20 + million deal for 2018. Machado, has been going down hill since. it’s messing with his mind.

        And, it would mine too 24, or 54 years old.

  2. TxBirdFan

    May 31, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Good observations Boog! I’ve noticed the same thing in the few times I’ve been able to see the Birds play. Manny seems nonchalant at the plate, then throws his bat when he doesn’t come through in a critical situation. It’s time for him to grow up. Maybe it’s time to bring Alvarez up to play a few games at third.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 31, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Thanks Tx … but I’m not sure I’d go so far as taking him out of the lineup! LOL

    • Dan Connolly

      May 31, 2017 at 10:49 am

      If Pedro Alvarez is replacing Machado at third base — even for a game — the Orioles are in real trouble. Can’t really say it more succinctly than that.

  3. TxBirdFan

    May 31, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Maybe I was too hasty with my Alvarez comment. I’ll give you that. Now is the time for Manny to prove me wrong and I hope he does. With Zach and Adam out we need him to lead and stay away from the Mendoza line.

  4. Ben1

    May 31, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    i say bat Manny in 7 slot and let him earn the return

  5. Ben1

    May 31, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    i too am an old fogy … and have fond memories of excellent athletes with class. i really believe Manny has the physical talent but is believing all the 1st $400 million man hype and is spending it in his mind. The class players know they have to work their craft every day of every long season.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 31, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Roger that Ben. Old Fogies Unite!!!

      (although I have absolutely NO idea how hard a worker Manny is)

    • Stacey

      May 31, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      It must be really cool being able to read people’s minds, Ben. I wish I had that power.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    May 31, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Two words: Eric Chavez.

  7. Ezrine Tire Award

    June 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Time to pay Manny and get his head straight. Ten years $275M.

    • Dan Connolly

      June 2, 2017 at 1:10 am

      I don’t think that gets it done. As crazy as it sounds, I think $300m is closer to the going rate. And beyond.

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      June 2, 2017 at 5:50 am

      Who do you think has the money to pay these absurd contract projections for Harper, Machado, et al?
      How much insurance do clubs have to pay to protect themselves from a player’s possible disability, a la Albert Belle? Can such a team afford the rest of the players in order to compete for titles?

      Like the National Debt, a day of reckoning looms. Marginal players earning millions per year are also part of the problem. I’m amazed we all keep ponying up the money to fund this craziness. But, hey, I’m obviously wrong. Play ball!

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