Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will get the nod at shortstop this season, club manager Buck Showalter said Saturday. While a last-minute trade hasn’t been completely ruled out at this point, nothing appears to be imminent and it looks like the Orioles will push forward with plans to begin the season with their star infielder.
Machado, 25, got his start at shortstop during his days in the Orioles’ farm system, but has yet to play a full season there on the big league level. He racked up seven games at short in 2015 and another 45 in 2016. Earlier this offseason, there were rumors that Machado wanted to make the switch to shortstop again in 2018, and it looks like the club will do all they can to accommodate that request in advance of his impending free agency in 2019.
While the three-time All-Star tries his glove up the middle, Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham is slated for a move to the hot corner. The 28-year-old was acquired via trade from the Rays last summer and finished the year among the top ten most valuable shortstops, though the bulk of his value was wrapped up in his .278 average and 22 home runs. There may be something of a learning curve for Beckham on this field this year, however, as he’s logged just 16 games at third base during his career, only nine of which have come in the majors.
Matt Carpenter pulled his weight and then some during the Cardinals’ 18-5 win on Friday, becoming just the second player in MLB history to tally three home runs and two doubles in the same game… and the first-ever to do so in the first six innings of a single game.
Carpenter wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board, first drawing a full count against Cubs lefty Jon Lester, then ricocheting a 92.4-MPH fastball off the scoreboard in right field for a leadoff home run. He returned in the second inning for another two-run shot and capped a seven-run spread in the fifth with an RBI double (his first double of the game was a leadoff hit in the fourth) before polishing off his performance with a third, three-run homer in the sixth.
Following Friday’s explosive five-run, seven-RBI performance, Carpenter is now batting .274/.381/.576 on the year with 23 home runs, 30 doubles and a .957 OPS in 388 PA. The last player to record five extra-base hits in one game was the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, who collected four runs and six RBI for the team back in June 2016. As MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch pointed out, Carpenter might have set another franchise record for most home runs in a game had interim manager Mike Shildt not removed him from the game in the bottom of the sixth. The record is still held by former club outfielder Mark Whiten, who collected four home runs (and a staggering 12 RBI) against the Reds in September 1993.