After Manny Machado went down on the Camden Yards grass in a division battle between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees, fans were thinking “here we go again”. However, relief was in the air when his X-rays came out negative and it was revealed to be just a sprain. Manny was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The thought was that he might not return for the regular season, but he’ll for sure be ready to roll come playoff time. Right?
News broke late Friday afternoon that Manny Machado indeed suffered a partial tear in his knee that will require surgery and end his 2014 campaign — this coming a year after he partially tore a ligament in his other knee in a late-season game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
At the time that the news was revealed, the O’s were 21 games over .500 and held a nine-game lead on the second place Yankees which was the largest division lead in baseball. With that being said, it was hard for Orioles fans to really be disappointed at this point in time as they are on the verge of grabbing their first division crown since 1997. However, fans found ways to get upset.
That’s where I come in. I’m here to cheer you up by telling you a few good reasons as to why Machado’s injury wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened:
When Machado returned from his injury in the second month of the season, his bat was, for a lack of a better term, slow. From May to mid-July, his average was hovering around the .210 mark. In 2013, he finished the season with a .283 average and hit a league-leading 51 doubles, so this was particularly upsetting. However as July progressed into August, his bat came alive. Slowly but surely, his average raised to .220, then .235, to .250, and all of a sudden it was at a very respectable mark of .278.
When you look at his stats at the end of his career, you’ll see a nice .278 average for Machado in 2014. However, for the most part, he was a non-factor in the first four months of the season. Sure he helped the Orioles gain some separation in the East, but they maintained a record of ten games over .500 without his bat.
Another reason not to panic is because his replacement has had a career year. With Chris Davis permanently moving to third base, Steve Pearce will take over his position at first. Before the year, if you would have told me that Steve Pearce would be starting, I would have thought this year were to be a disaster. However, that is not the case.
In 80 games this year, Pearce is hitting to a .287 average with 14 home runs and 35 RBIs. All those numbers top Machado’s and Manny played 82 games. Delmon Young, who has seen increased playing time due to Machado’s injury, has hit a .300 average this year in 66 games played (190 at bats).
I’m not saying that Steve Pearce or Delmon Young are better players than Manny Machado, not one bit. All I’m saying is that the production for the remainder of the season is still there, and Machado’s injury is no need to panic.
The one place that the O’s will miss Manny is on the field. His glove and arm are irreplaceable. However, if the Orioles don’t win the World Series this year, it most likely won’t be due to Manny Machado’s injury.