High Class A Frederick shortstop Manny Machado went 2-for-5 with a double in a game against Salem on July 19, hinting at a breakout to come. But through his first three weeks in the Carolina League, the 19-year-old had batted just .222 (14-for-63) with four extra-base hits in 18 games.
Those struggles may be a distant memory now for the future Orioles shortstop. Facing those same Salem Red Sox (it's an eight-team league) and the same Drake Britton, Machado went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two steals and two RBIs in yesterday's 4-2 win for Frederick.
In his last six games, Machado has gone 9-for-23 (.391) with three doubles, a triple and three stolen bases. On the year he's batting .264/.360/.445 with eight homers and 11 doubles in 227 at-bats, which is quite good considering the aggressive jump to high Class A and the knee injury that knocked him out for a month.
• High Class A Lakeland lefty Drew Smyly completed his second straight scoreless appearance yesterday, throwing seven shutout innings against Palm Beach. He struck out 10, walked two and allowed just two hits.
The Tigers' second-round pick from Arkansas in 2010, Smyly has been on a roll since May 28. In his last 11 starts, he's gone 7-2, 2.15 with a 63-to-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 62 2/3 innings, allowing only one home run. He ranks third in the Florida State League in ERA (2.58) and fourth in strikeout rate (8.6 per nine innings).
• After an efficient, 100-pitch start against Tulsa yesterday, Double-A Arkansas righthander Garrett Richards has three complete games to his credit this season. This was the first nine-inning version, however. That's no discredit to the 23-year-old Richards, who averaged 11.1 pitches per inning this time after averaging 13.7 and 12.5 per inning in his seven-inning complete games from June 8 and 18.
Richards, an Angels sandwich pick in 2009, held the Drillers to two runs on six hits while striking out four and walking one over his nine innings. He ranks fourth in the Texas League ERA race (3.23), third in WHIP (1.13), fifth with 89 strikeouts and first with 11 wins and 128 innings.
Richards has pitched effectively in the second half, going 3-0, 2.55 in six starts, but in so doing his strikeout rate has dipped to 4.5 per nine innings after a first-half rate of 7.1 per nine.
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