Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado, and gamesmanship out west
Baltimore Orioles fans can look across the MLB playoffs and find their former stars in the playoffs. Perhaps most poignantly, Manny Machado is in the NLDS with the LA Dodgers. They lead Nick Markakis and the Atlanta Braves in their series 2-0 after last night’s 3-0 win at Chavez Ravine.
Last night’s game featured Machado smacking a two-run homer. There are some Orioles fans who’ll see that and feel somewhat bitter. I take the opposite approach. We’ve talked so much this week about an end to an era in Birdland and so forth. And there’s no doubt that’s truly the case. However as I said above, when you look across the MLB playoffs, there are former Orioles wherever you look.
In my view, fans should see that as the Buck Showalter era living on in absentia in a sense. Odds are that a former Oriole’s going to win a championship this year. Probably a former 2018 Oriole. Again, some see that and feel bitter. I would look at it from a different perspective.
That LA Dodgers game last night also featured some Showalter-like gamesmanship from LAD manager Dave Roberts. In the top of the ninth with Los Angeles winning 3-0 (the eventual final score), Roberts sent starter Clayton Kershaw back out to the mound to pitch the ninth. Kershaw had pitched a masterful game, but as little as we see complete games in the regular season, they’re even more rare in the post-season.
Kershaw warmed up, and Atlanta scrambled and sent up a pinch hitter. As soon as the pinch hitter was announced, Roberts came out and lifted Kershaw for a reliever. That move was all about trying to get Atlanta to burn a pinch hitter, and it worked. I can’t say I ever recall Buck doing that specifically, but somehow it seems like something he would do.