Baltimore rookie Manny Machado tries to stay hot this evening when the Orioles begin a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards.
Machado, the third overall pick of the Orioles in the 2010 draft, has quieted some critics who said he wasn't ready, as he is 6-for-16 since being recalled on Thursday with three home runs, seven RBI and five runs scored.
The 20-year-old third baseman was named the co-American League Player of the Week on Monday, sharing the honor with Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez.
He became the youngest Oriole since Jim Palmer in 1965 to hit a homer, and he also became the youngest in club history to record a multi-homer game on Friday against Kansas City, breaking Boog Powell's 1962 mark by 223 days. Machado is just the 15th player since 1918 to have a multi-homer performance in his first or second major league game, but he was the second to do it this season, joining San Diego's Yasmani Grandal.
"I was impressed," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Machado. "The scouting reports we got on him said he had a couple of holes in his swing, but we couldn't find 'em. He hurt us. He actually won two games against us with homers. He's going to be a good player."
Machado will take his swings tonight against struggling Boston righty Josh Beckett, who has just one win in his last 11 starts and is coming off an awful showing his last time out.
Beckett, who is 5-9 on the year with a 4.97 ERA, was shelled by Texas on Wednesday for eight runs and eight hits in five innings. His offense bailed him out, though, and he did not get a decision in his team's 10-9 loss.
He had to leave his previous start with back spasms, but said the back wasn't an issue against the Rangers.
"The back felt good. Just too many pitches down the middle of the plate and everything was up," he said.
Beckett has lost his last three starts to the O's and is 7-6 lifetime against them with a 4.12 ERA in 19 starts.
Baltimore, meanwhile, will counter with Taiwanese righty Wei-Yin Chen, who is also coming off a horrific outing in his last start. Chen was rocked by Kansas City on Thursday to the tune of seven runs and nine hits in only 4 2/3 innings, dropping the rookie to 10-7 on the year to go along with a 3.79 ERA.
"He's human," O's manager Buck Showalter said. "He's performed at a very high level for us, and I think it's more (Kansas City) than it was him."
Chen beat Beckett and the Red Sox back on June 6 when he allowed just one run in seven innings of work.
Baltimore enters this series having won seven of nine and holds one of the two wild card spots in the American League, despite its minus-49 in run differential. Amazingly, the Orioles are 22-6 in one-run games and 12-2 in extra innings.
Boston, meanwhile, has dropped four of six.
The Orioles are 6-3 against the Red Sox this season.