BALTIMORE -- Dixon Machado has continued to prove that he can provide offensively for the Tigers despite receiving inconsistent playing time. But on Sunday, the infielder also demonstrated that he is also a defensive asset.Chris Davis led off the seventh inning of the Orioles' 12-3 win over the Tigers with
BALTIMORE -- Dixon Machado has continued to prove that he can provide offensively for the Tigers despite receiving inconsistent playing time. But on Sunday, the infielder also demonstrated that he is also a defensive asset.
Chris Davis led off the seventh inning of the Orioles' 12-3 win over the Tigers with a shallow fly ball to left field that appeared would drop in for a base hit. Left-fielder Justin Upton only had a 55-percent catch probability and, if he would've made the grab, it would've registered as a 3-Star play, according to Statcast™.
But thankfully for Upton, Machado had a bead on it. The shortstop turned his back to the infield heading toward center before fading to his glove side to make the over-the-shoulder, sliding catch.
"No [I didn't know I had it off the bat]," Machado said. "Kind of like, I hesitated at the beginning because I thought it was hit a little farther, but I just started running and tried to get to it and it just happened. You're not thinking about it, you just do it."
Machado covered 78 feet in just 5.1 seconds to make the catch, according to Statcast™. On top of the remarkable catch, Machado picked up a line-drive base hit up the middle in the sixth inning and, despite his inconsistent playing time, has now hit safely in 16 of his last 22 games with at least one at-bat, hitting .349 in that span.
"You know he's got some defensive skills," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "He hasn't gotten much playing time because of [Jose] Iglesias being here, but he's swung the bat extremely well when he's got the opportunities. He hasn't griped or complained. He gets his work in. Today, you saw what he's capable of with the leather as well."
Of the Tigers' 110 games this season, Machado has made 44 appearances and played just 20 complete games, but has always remained consistent. On the year, the infielder is hitting .304 with a home run, double, triple and eight RBIs.
"Every time that I get to play I get real excited because it doesn't happen that often," Machado said. "And I just try to do my best every time. You know, just play baseball. Because if I try to do too much, it's going to be hard because the time that I spend not playing.
"But, do the little things. You know, try to hit the ball hard, make every play and hopefully one of the balls that you hit will end up being a hit or something."
With Iglesias out of the lineup for the next three to seven games, Machado may see more time in the lineup than he is used to. The infielder has learned to take advantage of his opportunities and is handling the ups and downs of the season.
"The physical part, you got to work out every day, do something and try to maintain your swing," Machado said. "It's more mental I think. You got to be ready like mentally every day, that at any moment you could play or not play."
Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore