Manny Machado did some typical Manny things on Monday night with the help of best friend Jonathan Schoop.
Baltimore Orioles fans are a little spoiled. Manny Machado robbing doubles and saving runs before casually walking off the field has become a ho-hum experience. Just kidding, it’s still totally awesome every time it happens.
Machado did not wait around too long on Monday night in Tampa Bay with the O’s taking on the Rays. In the first inning, All-Star Evan Longoria dug in for a 1-2 pitch from Kevin Gausman. The Orioles right-hander delivered a high breaking ball that caught too much of the plate and Longoria ripped a hot shot down the third-base line.
Take a second to bask in the glory of what followed — just typical Manny things.
The Platinum Glover fielded Longoria’s missile while falling away from second base but spun all in one motion and delivered a strike to second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Schoop was forced to take the throw awkwardly to avoid the sliding Steven Souza Jr. Blessed with one of the best arms at his position in all of MLB, Schoop completed the relay throw to first base off one foot to complete the double play.
Machado and Schoop could be one of the best double-play combos in baseball if Manny ever slides back to shortstop. That is an attractive option for the Orioles to consider — and Machado has always maintained his desire to play shortstop at one point in his prime — but his value is maximized stealing doubles at third base.
Schoop’s contribution to this play will get lost in the reaction to Machado’s slick backhand and throw, but few second basemen in baseball could have made that throw. After making his first All-Star team, Schoop picked up right where he left off in the first half and is hitting .395/.400/.674 with three home runs and 16 RBI in the first 10 games of the second half.
The Orioles are trying to get back into the playoff race in the American League after seeing their starting rotation implode in the first half. Plays like this will certainly help the cause.