Orioles notes: Third baseman Manny Machado wins AL Player of the Week

Manny Machado became the third Orioles player to win American League Player of the Week honors over the past month Monday, earning the award for the week of Aug. 14-20.

Machado led AL hitters with four homers and 12 RBls over six games — mostly thanks to a grand slam Aug. 14 in Seattle and another Friday at home against the Los Angeles Angels. The latter slam came in bottom of the ninth to give the Orioles a walk-off win.

“First of all you look at the competition,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “You look at 14 clubs. I think any of those things. Player of the day, player of the week, player of the month, that’s something to be real proud of, but we live in a what have you done for me lately world, too. I don’t know if you can do more than what Manny’s done here recently.”

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop won the award for the week ending July 22, and shortstop Tim Beckham received the honor for the week ending Aug. 6.

The Orioles were just 2-4 during the past week, dropping series to the Mariners and Angels.

“Obviously it’s always an honor,” Machado said Monday afternoon. “At this point of the season, all you’re trying to do is trying to play for the team, trying to get some W’s, which is the most important part, getting ourselves in a good situation. This is all that matters from now on. Obviously, it’s a good accomplishment and I’m honored always, but I’ve got to keep swinging the bat and keep playing well.”

Over the week, Machado hit .385, going 10-for-25 to win his third career weekly award.

“Somebody’s going to pay,” Showalter said of Machado. “It’s frustrating. Someone’s going to pay when you have that type of ability. We’re still hoping out that happens between now and the end of the year with a couple of other guys and not just position guys.”

After struggling through most of the season’s first three months, Machado is hitting .364/.392/.636 with 10 homers and 40 RBIs over his past 39 games dating to July 7.

During that stretch, Machado has raised his batting average 51 points.

“This year has been a learning experience,” Machado said. “We all learn. “[Albert] Pujols, [Adrián] Beltré, a bunch of [veterans], they all tell you that they’re still learning and they’ve been in the game 20 years.

“This is a learning process, and there are things that you learn to continue to get better from and you just learn from the experience. So I’m just going to keep going forward and I’m going to stay with my goals and my routines that I’ve had a while. You can never shy away from that.”

All three of his grand slams this season came over a span of 11 days, and his three slams in 2017 are tied for most among AL hitters with the Detroit Tigers’ Justin Upton. Machado’s six slams since the beginning of the 2016 season are the most in the majors.

Showalter on failed series momentum

The Orioles entered Monday night’s series opener against the Oakland Athletics having won four straight series openers, but failed to win any of those series.

Showalter said the ability to build momentum has changed over the years, with no one game — whether it’s the opener of a series or not — having that much ability to carry over, especially after such a uplifting win Friday on Machado’s walk-off grand slam.

“That’s kind of something that’s kind of changed,” Showalter said. There’s not as much carryover, bad and good. You’ll have [moments when you think, “Oh, my gosh, how do you get up tomorrow morning and play after that game?’ It tore you heart out and what have you. You have to, No. 1, because that’s the job you’re in and you become, I don’t know about if you’re good at it, but you know the challenge that’s coming the next day, good and bad.

“But you also go through some periods where you’re getting some W’s but you know that some things are going on that you’re gotta clean up or else you know it’s gonna start biting you,” Showalter said. “You just know you were fortunate. … At the same you can [be] doing a lot of good things and you’re just not finishing up there. We’re kind of in that a little bit now.”

Machado had trouble explaining the trend of winning openers but no series wins.

“I don’t know,” Machado said. “It’s just baseball. It’s 162 games. It’s a grind. … I have no idea how to answer that because it’s just baseball, just how things turn out.”

After promotion, Asher receives IL honor

Right-hander Alec Asher, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before Sunday’s game when right-hander Miguel Castro was placed on the bereavement list, was named International League Pitcher of the Week on Monday.

In his one start last week, Asher pitched seven innings of three-hit shutout baseball for the Tides on Tuesday, striking out five and walking one against Lehigh Valley.

Showalter said Castro is expected to return to the Orioles on Tuesday after the death of a close family member but wouldn’t be eligible to be activated until Wednesday because players on the bereavement list must be on it for a minimum of three days.

Around the horn

Norfolk utility infielder Paul Janish was granted his release by the Orioles. Janish will retire and join the coaching staff at Rice University and plans to re-enroll at the school to complete his degree. He was a key utility piece for the Orioles over the past three seasons, especially as a fill-in for J.J. Hardy, but with Hardy joining the Tides on Monday to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment, playing time as shortstop was drying up over the final weeks of the minor league season. … The Orioles’ series finale in Cleveland on Sept. 10 has been changed to an 8:05 p.m. start to be broadcast on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.” … Delmarva right-hander Lucas Humpal was named Low-A South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week after pitching six shutout innings and scattering four hits while recording a career-high 10 strikeouts and walking one against Greensboro on Thursday.

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