Machado is honored as team MVP
Gausman could start Tues. or Wed.; scouting D-backs was a challenge
Toward the end of his best offensive season and an American League Most Valuable Player candidacy, Manny Machado was humbled to be selected this year’s Most Valuable Oriole. But before Friday night’s series opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Machado said he’d prefer to help the Orioles reach the postseason over any personal accolades.
“The only thing that matters to me is trying to take this thing to the playoffs, trying to get to the playoffs and roll the dice at the end of the day come October,” Machado said. “We’ve got [nine] more games, however many more innings, and I don’t know how many more outs, but those are the things that matter right now.”
Machado received the annual award, chosen by a vote of local media who cover the team, for the first time in his career. The award comes at a time when both Machado and the Orioles are struggling.
Machado hit .222/.271/.370 in his past 14 games before Friday, and after the Orioles were swept by the Boston Red Sox in a four-game home series, they entered Friday a half-game behind the Detroit Tigers for the second wild-card spot.
“At the end of the day, none of this really matters unless we get to where we need to be,” Machado said. “I think we’re going to keep fighting until the end, and hopefully the most important thing is we make that last wild-card spot and flip a coin to see who makes the World Series.”
Despite his recent slump, Machado has continued his progression into becoming one of the game’s best players. The 24-year-old is enjoying the best offensive season of his career, entering Friday’s game hitting .300/.350/.546 while setting career highs in homers (36), RBIs (93) and runs scored (103).
Machado, whohas been an ALMVPcandidate throughout this season, had 6.7 wins above replacement in his first 148 games, tied for sixth in the majors. A front-runner to win his third career Gold Glove, he led AL third basemen with a 2.1 defensive WAR.
Machado will be presented with the award in an on-field ceremony before the team’s final regular-season home game Sunday. Other players who received votes were Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and Mark Trumbo. Looking ahead to Toronto: Showalter said right-hander Kevin Gausman, who is dealing with a mild intercostal strain suffered during his most recent start, was feeling better Friday and is scheduled to start Tuesday or Wednesday on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Tillman, who had his shortest start of the season Thursday night, going just 12⁄ innings in a 5-3 loss to the Red Sox, would start on the day Gausman does not.
“It’ll be hopefully Tillman-Gausman or Gausman-Tillman Tuesday and Wednesday, depending on a lot of factors we’ll take in each day,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Showalter has not announced when right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez would make his next start. Jimenez last pitched Wednesday, and his worst start of the season came in his only start at Rogers Centre, when he lasted just one-third of an inning and allowed five runs on six hits June12. Scouting challenge: Facing an interleague opponent in the last home series of the regular season presents its challenges in terms of preparing for an unfamiliar foe. The Orioles have not played the Diamondbacks since 2013, when they were swept in three walk-off losses in Arizona, including two in extra innings.
“It’s just a real challenge,” Showalter said. “I was here last night till late. Here early trying to get familiar with a lot of things. Trying to figure out if they’re in that find-out development mode or trying to put their best foot forward these three games. You never know.” Around the horn: On Friday, left fielder Hyun Soo Kim made his second start in the leadoff spot this season, allowing the Orioles to slide Jones into the No. 2 spot in the order. … Showalter said before Friday’s game that the team is uncertain when left-hander Jayson Aquino will be available. He missed the previous two games with a viral infection and hasn’t pitched since Monday. … Rookie Trey Mancini, who homered in his first two major league starts, became the first player to accomplish that feat since Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, who homered in his first four games this season, from April 4 to 8.