UPDATE: Check that, Machado just went deep again. He clubbed a three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth inning that chased Hochevar from the ballgame. Here’s the video.
Per Eddie A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the 20-year-old is now the youngest player in Orioles history to have a multi-homer game. Goodness.
8:43 PM: It hasn’t taken long for Manny Machado to make an impact in Baltimore.
After going 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored in his major league debut last night, Machado hit his first career home run tonight against the Royals. The 20-year-old turned on a pitch from right-hander Luke Hochevar in the bottom of the fifth inning and deposited it over the left field fence. The solo shot put the Orioles in front 3-1.
You can watch the video of the home run here. Eddie A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun passes along word that Machado is the youngest Oriole to homer since Hall of Fame right-hander Jim Palmer did it on May 16, 1965 vs. the Yankees at the age of 19. How crazy is that?
We’ll likely see some growing pains in the days ahead, but the rookie has already made the surprising Orioles more interesting.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.