Orioles beat team with a similarly losing record for the win

The Baltimore Orioles (9-27) beat the Kansas City Royals (12-24) last night. The final score was 3 – 5. What last night’s game shows is that if the Orioles focus on playing teams who’ve lost at least 20 games so far this season, they have a real fighting chance.

Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis.

Chris Davis even hit a three-run homer last night. Hitting home runs is really the only thing Davis offers offensively, that and striking out. The problem is, Davis isn’t really hitting a lot of home runs this season. Davis is batting .172 this season with three home runs, 13 walks, and 43 strikeouts. In other words, he’s earning every penny of the $23 million he’s making this season. If you have a problem with a player such as Davis with his limited offense making that much money, you’d better get used to it: the O’s are paying Davis $23 million a year till 2022. 

Orioles’ second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

Jonathan Schoop returned to the lineup last night. That’s a good thing considering he was the O’s best overall player last year. A right oblique strain earned Schoop a visit to the 10-day disabled list last month.

The Orioles have generally sucked since I moved here to Maryland in 1994, but they were the only local team on TV at the time. This was before the Expos moved to Washington DC and became the Washington Nationals. This was also before you could pay around $100 a year for MLB.TV and watch any team you wanted to, live or not live, except when the extensive black restrictions applied.

MLB.TV has more blackout rules than a Norwegian death metal band.

I don’t mind watching a local team that sucks, as long as they have the potential to become good later down the line. My problem with the 2018 Orioles is they have players like Chris Davis and the un-American Manny Machado on the team. They’re stuck with Davis and his $23 long-term salary. Why Machado is still on the team at this point is a mystery. He’s having a career year playing his natural shortstop position this season. The time to trade him was yesterday. This is his final season under contract with the Orioles. What are they waiting for?

There’s a reason people hate the New York Yankees

From The Baltimore Sun:

Manny Machado won’t be a free agent until next offseason, but Aaron Judge is already making his pitch to the All-Star shortstop on why he should join the Yankees.
“Adding him to our lineup that we’ve already got would be something special. I told him he’d look good in pinstripes,” Judge said.
Judge said he made his pitch to Machado before Wednesday’s spring training game.
“He just kind of laughed it off and didn’t really say much,” Judge said.

You know who else looks good in pinstripes? Satan.

Personally, I’m looking forward to when Manny Machado is no longer in an Orioles’ uniform, but the reasoning is purely personal. I think he’s a tad bit overrated as a player, but more importantly for me personally, I don’t like Manny Machado as a person. I don’t like how he turned his back on his country, the United States, and played for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic.

Manny Machado played for the USA on the 18U National Team.
Manny Machado cosplaying as a citizen of the Dominican Republic.

Manny Machado is not a citizen of the Dominican Republic. Manny Machado is a citizen of the United States. As great as a player he might be, I’d rather not have him on a team I watch and root for. What he did was worse, far worse, then what some NFL players did by kneeling for the National Anthem.

With all that said, Aaron Judge engaged in tampering. That’s cheating. That’s what the Yankees do, they cheat. Worse, they tend to always get away with it.

My hope is the Orioles will be able to trade Manny Machado for pitching prospects, preferably those with high ground-ball rate (GB%). What is GB%?

From MLB.com:

Ground-ball rate represents the percentage of balls hit into the field of play that are characterized as ground balls. Each ball that is hit into the field of play is characterized as a line drive, a fly ball, a ground ball or a pop-up.
Ground-ball rate can be used as a metric to evaluate both hitters and pitchers, although it’s more frequently used to evaluate pitchers.
With pitchers, ground-ball rate can be very telling. For one thing, it lets us know what type of pitcher we have. Pitchers with high ground-ball rates have a tendency to allow fewer home runs (which result from fly balls and line drives). Obviously, preventing home runs is one of the most important aspects of pitching — as no outcome is more damaging.
Pitchers who possess high ground-ball rates have a tendency to induce a high number of double plays as well, and are generally more successful than pitchers who try to get by with high fly-ball rates.

For a pitcher to be successful in Camden Yards, I believe they have to have the ability to make batters hit ground balls.

The Baltimore Orioles need to trade Manny Machado

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is now 25 years old. He’s under contract with the Orioles until the end of the 2018 season. The Orioles need to trade Manny Machado for pitching prospects while he still has perceived value.

A good defensive third baseman who hits for power is a luxury the Orioles can’t afford, especially when you consider batting average. Manny Machado is currently hitting only .215 this season. Although batting average is often times a poor indicator of a player’s offensive ability, it’s a nice indicator of how many times a player’s efforts result in an out. Someone who is batting .215 generates an out for his team 78.5 percent of the time.

Whoever signs Manny Machado after the 2018 season will end up paying too much money. He’s the type of player who looks great on highlights. He makes outstanding defensive plays that look only better when seen over and over in high-definition slow motion. The same can be said for his home runs. What you don’t see in the highlights are all the times he’s strikes out (70) or all the other times he’s generated an out on offense. Manny Machado has generated 248 outs on offence, the worst for any third baseman in the American League.

If the Orioles are ever going to be a real contender in the American League East, they need to get rid of players like Manny Machado and replace them with pitchers who are more inclined to do well in the tiny confines of Camden Yards. That means pitchers who have a high ground ball percentage. That means pitchers who don’t throw a lot of pitches. The more pitches you throw, the more likely a hitter is going to guess right and either hit the ball over the shallow right field wall for a home run or in the left corner for a double.

What’s better, striking a hitter out with six pitches or making the hitter hit a ground ball to the shortstop on the very first pitch? It’s getting the batter out with only one pitch. One pitch outs are efficient and a thing of beauty. They’re far more valuable than a strikeout. Pitchers who can get hitters out with the least amount of pitches are the type of pitchers the Orioles need.

This is a philosophy that needs to begin in the minor leagues. Pitchers in the Orioles organization need to learn to be more cost-effective with their pitches. If the Orioles can trade Manny Machado for pitching prospects who already naturally embrace this pitching philosophy, then they need to do it while they can.