Manny Machado named AL’s starting SS for 2018 MLB All-Star Game

BALTIMORE — At 26-years-old, Manny Machado has been named to his fourth career Major League All-Star Game. On July 17 from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Machado will start at shortstop for the American League. The announcement came on Sunday evening on ESPN when Major League Baseball revealed their All-Star rosters.

According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, Machado received 1,740,645 fan votes, putting him ahead of Houston Astros Shortstop Carlos Correa, who got 1,684,016 votes. Comparatively, Machado’s hitting .313 with 21 home runs and 60 RBI in 339 at-bats, while  in 269 at-bats, Correa is slashing .268 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI.

Machado made the All-Star team as an American League reserve in 2013 and 2015, and again in 2016 as the league’s starting third basemen.

“Obviously I wanted to be an All-Star, but to get the privilege to start the game and get voted by the fans, obviously takes it above and beyond,” Machado said. “At the end of the day, the other guys that were in this as well could have been easily another starter (Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa, Didi Gregorius, Jean Segura); we’re all doing big things this year, overall. To be starting, truly humbled and, again, I just want to thank the fans for voting and for making this all come true.”

“Very humbled. Amazing that I got voted in by the fans to be the starting shortstop this year in the American League. I feel like it was my first All-Star Game selection. I can’t thank the fans enough for voting and making this come true.”

What makes Machado’s All-Star Game nomination even more interesting this year is the trade talks surrounding Baltimore’s superstar. Over the last week, several reports have surfaced detailing the pursuits of up to eight teams for Machado’s services, and those offers can keep coming until the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

According to Rich Dubroff of Pressbox, if the Orioles traded Machado to a National League team before the All-Star Game, Machado cannot play in the game, but could get introduced during the pregame ceremonies. If Baltimore ships Machado to an American League team before the game, Machado could still play but obviously would not represent the Orioles.

The Orioles do not have another representative on the American League roster. But, if Baltimore traded Machado to a National League club over the next week, another Oriole would travel to D.C. to represent the Birds, but they would not start.

Machado would love nothing more than to play in an All-Star Game, starting at his natural shortstop position and representing the organization that drafted him in 2010. Machado has been professional in dealing with both local and national media during a time where perhaps no MLB player is getting more attention than him. He understands that professional baseball is a business and that by the time the All-Star Game comes around, he could be on a different team.

“Yeah, there’s still a week,” Machado said. “There’s been a lot of talks and a lot of things going on, but who knows what will happen at the end of the day? I haven’t heard anything. I’ll probably be the last to hear, but things could change or I could probably stay here for a lot longer, for more than a couple weeks to come. But who knows?

“Every jersey I’ve put on has been [as] an Oriole,” Machado said. “I’ve performed this year as an Oriole. I’ve done everything possible. I’ve worked hard. The organization gave me the opportunity to go back to shortstop and play my natural position. The fans I guess kind of appreciated the way I’ve been playing and I appreciate everything that they have done. Hopefully I’ll put on that jersey and if not, I’m always going to be grateful no matter what.”

After Machado’s election became official, Machado received an outpouring of support, most notably by Buck Showalter and Adam Jones.

“Manny, you can tell I think playing shortstop really, I wouldn’t say energized, but really was something that I think was something he really wanted to be good at,” Showalter said. “It’s obvious that a lot of people feel that way. Proud of him. He’s been consistent. He was engaged the first day of Spring Training — not that he hasn’t been before — you could tell that he was on a mission to be consistent all year this year. I think it’s very reflective of that.”

Also on Sunday evening, former Oriole great Nick Markakis was named to his first career All-Star Game in 13 seasons. Markakis, representing the Atlanta Braves, will start in the outfield for the National League. This season, Markakis owns a .322 average with 113 hits, 10 home runs, and 59 RBI in 351 at-bats. Markakis is 34 and in the final year of a four-year deal with the Braves.

Jones was also elated over Markakis’s nomination.

Image Credit: Sports Illustrated 

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Robinson Cano’s go ahead homer lifts American League to fifth straight All Star Game win

MIAMI — The 88th annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game took 10 innings to complete, and pitching dominated throughout, but Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano became the headline late Tuesday night with his go-ahead solo home run that lifted the American League to a 2-1 victory over the National League.

Cano, 34, competing in his eighth career All-Star Game, became the first player to hit a home run in the mid-summer classic since Tony Perez in 1967, according to MLB Yankees reporter Bryan Hoch.

Following the game, Cano was named MVP.

Schoop leaves his mark: Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the lone O’s representative in the 2017 show-casing, made an impact in his opportunity. Schoop entered the game on defense in the fourth, scoreless at the time, after Astros second-baseman Jose Altuve received the start.

In his lone at-bat in the fifth inning, hitting off Alex Wood of the Dodgers, Schoop laced a double to left field that bounced off third base and remained fair. Twins third baseman Miguel Sano got the American League on the board with a bloop single that landed in-between a pair of Nationals players in shallow right field – first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and right fielder Bryce Harper.

The lead did not last long for the American League, because an inning later the National League tied the game up when catcher Yadier Molina (who is 34-years-old) crushed a home run to right-center field off Ervin Santana of the Twins.

Cano’s go-ahead homer came at the dispense of Cubs reliever Wade Davis, who pitched in his third straight All-Star Game. He picks up the loss, while Boston pitcher Craig Kimbrel racked up the win with two strikeouts. Indians closer Andrew Miller earned the save in the 10th after Cano’s heroics. Red Sox star pitcher Chris Sale started the game for the American League, while Nationals ace Max Scherzer gained the nod for the National League.

For the first time since 2003, the All-Star Game will not decide who gets home field advantage in the World Series. Instead, the benefit goes to whichever team has the better regular season record.

Next year’s All-Star Game takes place on July 10, 2018 from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

Podcast: Nolan and Jake discuss Zachary Orr and recent O’s nuggets

Welcome to the latest episode of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast! There might not be much going on with the Ravens until training camp, but with the recent development on Zachary Orr’s attempted NFL comeback, Jake McDonnell and Nolan McGraw open up the show with a hot discussion on this story.

The fun does not end there, as the guys then go into a talk about the Orioles as they quietly ride a three-game winning streak. Currently in Toronto, are the .500 Orioles starting to put things together, or should the team consider being sellers as the trade deadline approaches? Which Orioles deserve to go to the All-Star Game on July 11, and which ones (whether they deserve it or not) will most likely go? All of this and more on today’s episode.

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