Unfazed by trade talks, Machado swats 2 HRs
BALTIMORE — Manny Machado isn’t having any trouble staying locked in amidst all the trade talk.
Machado’s first homer was a solo shot off New York Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka in the bottom of the fifth inning. It traveled an estimated 444 feet before landing in the left-field stands at Camden Yards, the longest home run of the season by an Orioles player.
His second blast, a two-run, opposite-field shot against reliever Chad Green in the seventh, glanced off the glove of leaping right fielder Aaron Judge before bouncing off the facing on top of the home bullpen. At first, the hit was ruled a long single, but after a crew chief review, the call was overturned and Machado circled the bases.
With the pair of round-trippers, Machado notched his fifth multihomer game and the 19th of his career. The O’s slugger also singled in the first inning, and drew an intentional walk in the ninth, which loaded the bases and set the stage for Jonathan Schoop‘s two-out, game-winning single.
Machado’s big night continued what has been a banner year so far. In 91 games with the Orioles, he’s hitting .314 with 23 home runs and 63 RBIs. In his first year as a full-time shortstop in the majors, the former third baseman was voted as the starter for the American League in next week’s All-Star Game.
“It’s been a remarkable season for him,” said manager Buck Showalter. “You think about the challenges we’ve faced as a team, but he’s just been as consistent as you could ask a guy to be.”
Machado has been especially impressive this month, as the trade speculation surrounding him has intensified to a fever pitch. Since the start of July, he’s hitting .371 with four doubles and three homers in 10 games. His performance on Tuesday came against a Yankees team that’s one of many clubs thought to be interested in securing his services prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
“It’s a tough situation,” said Machado. “You try to soak it in. People want you, teams want you. You try to soak it in, but at the same time, you’ve just got to let it slide. Once that game starts, or it gets close to game time, you want to prepare yourself and get mentally ready for the game. At the end of the day, I’m trying to go out there and leave it out on the field, do everything well, and play good baseball. This just happened to be one of those good days today overall.”
A former first-round pick in 2010 (third overall), Machado is slated to become a free agent after the 2018 season. The Orioles, who own baseball’s worst record at 26-66, are expected to trade Machado at some point this month.
“It crosses my mind, I’m not going to lie,” said Machado of his uncertain future. “You just try to enjoy your moment, try to enjoy the season like I have since day one, since I stepped in here. You try to take it all in. Nobody ever wants to think about that day.”