There have been Orioles lineups without Manny Machado over the past few years. There were the times he got hurt. There were routine days off. On a couple of occasions, he got suspended for a few games. Yet none of them were quite the same as Friday’s Orioles lineup, where Machado is absent for the first time by virtue of his no longer being on the team.
Not that everything is changing overnight. Machado’s spot in the lineup is just one spot. Everybody else is still around, for now. Other trades may be worked out over the next 11 days, but as the second half of the season begins, the Orioles still look like the same Orioles of the last few months. They’re only missing their best player.
Can the O’s record get any worse than 28-69? We will start to find out as the season resumes on Friday night with this starting lineup:
- Tim Beckham - SS
- Jonathan Schoop - 2B
- Adam Jones - CF
- Mark Trumbo - DH
- Chris Davis - 1B
- Danny Valencia - RF
- Trey Mancini - LF
- Renato Núñez - 3B
- Caleb Joseph - C
Dylan Bundy is the starting pitcher coming out of the All-Star Break.
Beckham slotting over to shortstop immediately upon Machado’s departure is interesting, if not particularly surprising. Will this help the infield defense at all as he moves back to his natural position?
Núñez, called up just today as the Orioles designated Chris Tillman for assignment, gets the first third base start in the post-Machado era. He was a waiver claim in May and now the O’s are giving him a chance. They don’t have much to lose at this point. Núñez does not come with a great defensive reputation, so third base defense getting any better does seem unlikely.
The outfield problems are still what they are. Mancini isn’t an outfielder. Valencia isn’t an outfielder. Jones probably shouldn’t be a center fielder any more. Whether any room will be created for improvement here as trade season plays out is also going to be worth watching. For tonight, it’s the same old, same old, and for the 2018 Orioles, you know the same old isn’t a good thing.
Bundy has not yet pitched well in two July starts. Those starts happened to come after a short trip to the disabled list with an ankle injury. Will the break have been useful to get all the way better, or will it prove to have increased Bundy’s rust level? The O’s did not send him out on a rehab assignment to make sure he was all the way back in game form before activating him.