In the top of the third inning, the Orioles’ eighth hitter drove a ball deep into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium for a 1-0 lead. The Yankees rallied back to tie things up in the bottom of the third. But now Baltimore’s ninth hitter has made some noise.
Manny Machado, a 20-year-old infield prospect who was promoted to the major leagues in early August, drove a Hiroki Kuroda slider over the fence in left field in the top of the fifth, lifting the Orioles back on top of the Yankees 2-1 in Game 3 of this ALDS.
Machado batted just .262 with a .294 OBP in 202 plate appearances this summer, but he tallied seven dingers, eight doubles and three triples for a respectable .445 slugging percentage. And now his power has launched him into an elite historical class. Before tonight, only Mickey Mantle, Miguel Cabrera and Andruw Jones had hit postseason home runs before age 21.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.