Last night, in front of an announced crowd of 21,226 at Camden Yards, the Orioles’ top position prospect Manny Machado made his big league debut.
Unfortunately, before many of those 21+ thousand fans had even had a chance to find their seats, the Birds were in a 4-0 hole.
Starter Wei-Yin Chen, who has been the team’s most reliable starter all season, was touched up for four runs before he recorded even a single out. Chen allowed a solo home run to
Eric Alex Gordon on the second pitch he threw, then gave up consecutive singles and another home run, this time to Billy Butler.
It certainly wasn’t the way Chen wanted to present himself on such a big day in Birdland. On top of being “Manny Machado Day,” it was also Chen’s own day in a way, as fans at Oriole Park at Camden Yards were treated to free Wei-Yin Chen t-shirts. The shirts say “Orioles” and “Chen” in Chen’s native Mandarin Chinese symbols.
The O’s starter settled down just a bit for a few innings after the first, but in the end was still charged with 7 runs on 9 hits in 4 2/3 innings. In the end, the O’s would manage only two runs in an 8-2 defeat.
Now for the good news:
How did the O’s finally get on the board? Well, thanks in large part to Mr. Machado.
In his second big league at bat, after falling behind 0-2 in the count, Machado laced a line drive into the right center field gap that would ultimately roll all the way to the wall. After it looked like he would cruise into second base with an easy double, Machado instead turned on another gear and sprinted for third base, making it without even drawing a throw.
Machado’s first career hit – just like the Birds’ last highly-hyped positional prospect Matt Wieters – was a triple.
He would cross the plate on Nick Markakis’s sacrifice fly, scoring his first career run.
Machado added an infield single later, finishing his night 2-for-4.
The young man acquitted himself well in his first MLB action. Now it’s on to the next one as the Birds try to get back to their winning ways tonight against Kansas City.
Miguel Gonzalez (3-2, 3.80) takes the hill for the O’s against KC’s Luke Hochevar (7-9, 5.04).