|Padres' Machado to face old team in Baltimore|
The San Diego Padres do not come to Baltimore often. Still, when they meet the Orioles on Tuesday to start a brief two-game series, there will be a different feeling.
Former Oriole inflielder Manny Machado returns to the park he called home for nearly seven seasons for the first time since he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last July.
Signed by the Padres to a 10-year, $300 million free agent contract in the offseason, Machado told The Athletic recently that he enjoyed playing in front of the Baltimore faithful.
"I loved the fans," Machado said. "It was unbelievable playing in front of those guys every single night and day. They were always there cheering us on. Whether we were sucking or balling out, it didn't matter; they supported us through everything."
Machado didn't have as kind of words for the front office in a Sports Illustrated article in February.
"The Dodgers last year, they showed me some love," he told the magazine. "The Orioles drafted me. I did a lot for that community, I did a lot for the state, and they didn't show me a bit of love. It is what it is. But going over to L.A., L.A. giving up a lot of prospects for me, that kind of shows you what I meant to them, which is amazing."
So, it will be interesting to see the kind of reception Machado receives from the fans when he comes up to bat for the first time Tuesday night. Will he get booed? Will he receive an Albert Pujols-like standing ovation? Will it be a mix of the two?
That remains to be seen.
What is certain is that the Padres need to get back on track. The Los Angeles Dodgers are running away with the National League West. San Diego is 15.5 games behind the Dodgers but in the thick of the wild card race in the National League.
But they're coming off a tough 11-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 10 innings on Sunday. Closer Kirby Yates blew his first save opportunity in 27 chances this season, and the Padres have lost three in a row after winning four straight and five of six.
Logan Allen (1-0, 0.00) will be making his second career start -- and appearance in a major league game -- for the Padres. He went seven scoreless innings and beat Milwaukee on June 18 in his debut.
The Orioles will counter with a bullpen format, starting an "opener," and they had not put the pitching order out as of Monday. The team has lost 11 of its past 12 games.
The pitching has been a mess. The Orioles have a league-worst 5.85 ERA, more than a full run per game higher than the American League average (4.53).
Manager Brandon Hyde said the team doesn't have shut-down arms in the rotation, and the bullpen isn't strong enough to bolster the starters.
"We have who we have," Hyde said in a MASN postgame interview after Sunday's 13-3 loss in Seattle. "It is what it is."
The best news possibly coming for the Orioles involves No. 1 overall draft pick Adley Rutschman. According to multiple reports on Monday, the two sides are closing in on a deal. MLB Network's Jon Heyman said the contract could be in "record territory."
That would be a major step in the team's rebuilding process.
--Field Level Media