With his first-inning homer Wednesday, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado now has 29 on the season. When he hits his next one, it will be the first time in Orioles’ modern day history in which they have had three players with 30 or more in one season.
That’s pretty incredible — and it’s only August.
The 1996 team – which had seven hitters with 20 or more – only had two with 30 homers or more that season: Brady Anderson (50) and Rafael Palmeiro (39). Bobby Bonilla was next with 28.
Those great clubs of the late 1960s and 1970s didn’t do it. However, nine different Orioles’ teams – including this 2016 one – has featured two, 30-or-more homer guys.
So Machado, Mark Trumbo (38) and Chris Davis (30) can make franchise history.
They can make a little overall baseball history, too. According to Stats LLC, the Orioles will be the 13th team since 1973 to have at least three, 30-homer players prior to September if Machado homers before the month ends.
You don’t have to go very far back to find the last trio to do it, though.
How about last year?
The Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion all accomplished the feat before Sept. 1.
According to Stats, the only team since 1973 to have four players with 30 or more homers before Sept. 1 was the 2000 Los Angeles Angels: Troy Glaus, Mo Vaughn, Garret Anderson and Tim Salmon.
More love for Hart, Givens
Rookie left-hander Donnie Hart had a tough assignment Monday at Camden Yards when he had to face lefties Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper in the eighth. He gave up a double to Murphy but then erased it when Harper hit a comebacker to Hart, who threw out Murphy darting away from second base.
That said something about Orioles manager Buck Showalter’s faith in Hart, who began the year at Double-A Bowie.
Showalter reiterated that message Wednesday at Nationals Park. With two on and two outs in a 5-2 game, the manager again summoned Hart to face Murphy and, possibly, Harper.
Murphy, the National League’s leading hitter, singled to make the score 5-3. But then Hart rallied by striking out Harper, the reigning NL MVP, and ultimately preserve the win.
It wasn’t the only clutch performance by an Orioles rookie reliever.
In the sixth, right-hander Mychal Givens relieved starter Wade Miley – who picked up his first win as an Oriole by allowing two runs in five-plus innings — with runners on second and third and no outs. The game was hanging in the balance.
Givens struck out Anthony Rendon, got Wilson Ramos to pop up and then struck out Ryan Zimmerman to strand the runners.
“Mychal and Donnie did a great job and those are the situations they are going to get thrown into and so it’s nice to see them step up and do a really good job,” said Orioles closer Zach Britton. “And they have been doing that for a while now, so that was good.”
If the Orioles starters aren’t going to get through six or seven innings, the club needs that kind of performance from the bullpen, especially from guys like Givens and Hart, who are the bridge to Brad Brach and Britton. It’s exceptionally important with set-up man Darren O’Day injured.
“Donnie and Mychal have stepped up in a time of need with Darren out,” Showalter said.
Healthy reinforcements coming for early September?
The Orioles surely will promote several players from the minors when rosters expand Sept. 2 (the club is off Sept. 1). It’ll mainly be relievers, catcher Caleb Joseph and reserve outfielders such as Dariel Alvarez, Julio Borbon and/or Chris Dickerson. Paul Janish, Christian Walker and Trey Mancini are also possibilities.
But Orioles manager Buck Showalter is hoping to get some healthy players back next month as well. O’Day and Chris Tillman are the headliners but outfielder Joey Rickard and lefties T.J. McFarland and Brian Duensing also could return.
Rickard (thumb) will be re-examined Sept. 2 and Showalter said, if all goes well, he could be back in mid-September. Duensing (elbow) threw one inning in the Gulf Coast League on Wednesday. He threw only seven pitches, partially because he induced a double play. He hopes to re-join the team at some point in September.
McFarland (knee) is pitching at Double-A Bowie and Showalter said was a consideration for a promotion Wednesday when the club added Mike Wright. But the manager said he’d like to see McFarland have at least another rehab outing.
As much as Showalter claims to hate expanded rosters, having extra arms at his disposal gives him an advantage over many managers because of the deft way he handles his bullpen.