Manny Machado reaches another milestone; Rotation depth a priority for 2016

Orioles' Manny Machado hits a solo home run in the third inning during Game 2 of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards on Oct. 3, 2015 in Baltimore.
Orioles' Manny Machado hits a solo home run in the third inning during Game 2 of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards on Oct. 3, 2015 in Baltimore. (Mitchell Layton / Getty Images)

After homering in both games of Saturday's doubleheader, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado has now homered in four straight games, hitting five homers in that span to increase his career-high total to 35.

He is the first Orioles player to homer in four straight games since Caleb Joseph homered in five straight last year from Aug. 2-9. Four players have homered in at least five consecutive games, while Chris Davis (Sept. 26-Oct. 2, 2012) and Reggie Jackson (July 18-23, 1976) have both homered in a club-record six straight games.


Orioles manager Buck Showalter acknowledged that he didn't realize that Machado had that many homers this year -- it's been hard to keep up with him homering every game of late -- but said he was more impressed by another stat.

"I looked up there tonight and I went, 'He's got 35 home runs,'" Showalter said of Machado. "One of the most impressive things is 100 runs scored; what he's got, 101 now? It's hard to do, one, to stay on the field that much. I don't know what else you can ask a guy to do. He's stolen a base for us, he's played as good of defense as you can play, he helped us in the one hole when we had a need there."

Machado, who now has 101 runs, 35 homers and 20 stolen bases, became just the second player in the majors this season to record a 100-run, 30-homer, 20-steal season. Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks entered Saturday with 100 runs, 31 homers and 21 steals.

Machado also became just the second player in Orioles history to record a 100-run, 30-homer, 20-steal season. Brady Anderson had 117 runs, 50 homers and 21 steals in 1996.

The achievement alone is impressive. It's even more impressive when you consider that Machado just turned 23 in July.

"I think you are seeing a guy evolve into somebody capable of hitting some other spots in the order," Showalter said. "And that's kind of how you hope the process goes when you first bring him up."

-- The Orioles entered the 2015 season with their most established starting rotation in years, but they end it realizing that they desperately need more depth in 2016.

The rotation struggled this season, and its decline might have been the biggest factor in the Orioles' disappointing season. As the Orioles battled through inconsistency and injury, the organization's lack of depth became evident.

"It's a challenge, it's something we're going to have to attack in the offseason," Showalter said. "I'm sure [executive vice president] Dan [Duquette] is on top of that. It's pretty obvious, a lot of the what-ifs. Some of them might be here. We've got to wait and see when the chairs stop moving, who's there. Every club's facing that this time of year, not just us. Obviously, we've got a lot of guys that, if they're not here will really affect what we have to do in the offseason. First place you always look is from within. We're going to need to try to get a little deeper there."

Eight different pitchers have made starts for the Orioles. There were the Orioles' six main starters this season -- the current rotation of Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman, as well as Bud Norris, who made 11 starts before being released. Rookie right-handers Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson filled in for 14 combined starts.

The Orioles might have to replace Chen -- the team's most consistent starter -- because he becomes a free agent after this season.

Last season, just seven different pitchers made starts for the Orioles, but the starting rotation flourished, pitching to a collective 3.61 ERA, and for the most part avoided injury. That wasn't the case this year, so the Orioles undoubtedly would have liked to have had more starting options in the minors.

The Orioles had 14 different starters in 2013 and 12 different starters in 2012.

The club was depending on having top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey available later in the season, but both pitchers' seasons were derailed by injury.



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