Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is expected to undergo season-ending knee surgery within a week. Brown continues, saying that Dr. Neal ElAttrache — who performed the surgery on Machado’s left knee last October, will operate on Machado. The abnormality found in Machado’s left knee last year was also found in his right knee, and the surgery is expected to fix that.
Machado suffered his right knee injury on August 11. The official diagnosis was a sprained right knee ligament. He’ll go on the disabled list with a .278/.324/.431 slash line with 12 home runs and 32 RBI in 354 plate appearances spread out over 82 games.
Chris Davis made his fifth consecutive start at third base this afternoon as the Orioles lost to the Cubs 4-1. With Davis at third base, that has created a spot at first base for Steve Pearce. On days Davis isn’t at third base, Ryan Flaherty should get the start at the hot corner for the AL East-leading Orioles.
Update (6:52 PM ET): The report has been confirmed.
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.