Manny Machado On Pace to Break Single Season Doubles Record
Look out, Earl Webb, your 82 year old record for doubles in one season is in jeopardy. Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is currently on a pace to surpass that record in the last couple of weeks of the 2013 season. In 1931, Webb hit an unprecedented 67 doubles that has only been close to being touched five times since that year, the most recent being Todd Helton with 59 of them in 2000.
Outside of Webb, only five other players in Major League history have hit 60 or more doubles (George Burns in 1926 , Joe Medwick in 1936 , Hank Greenberg in 1934 , Paul Waner in 1932 , Charlie Gehringer in 1936 ). As it currently stands, the just-turned-21-year-old Machado is on pace to lace 69 two-baggers on the season. Through 91 games, Machado has hit 39 of them. Through that many games in 1931, Webb had hit 44, but he tailed off in his final 61 games that year, hitting just 24 in that stretch. Over that time, Webb’s overall offensive production dropped off, as he hit .363 with an OPS over 1.000 during his first 91, while hitting just .290 with an OPS under .800 for the remaining 61.
While the same possibility to slide is there for Machado, who right now is hitting .318/.343/.478/.821 with seven homers, 45 RBI, and the aforementioned 39 doubles, his chances may be better to continue this pace he’s on with the line-up around him. With lead-off man Nate McLouth (.284/.356/.416/.772, 6 HR, 15 RBI) having a bit of a resurgence in front of Machado, and Nick Markakis (.289/.338/.405/.742, 8 HR, 43 RBI), Adam Jones (.288/.310/.472/.783, 16 HR, 61 RBI) , and potential MVP Chris Davis (.313/.390/.696/1.087, 33 HR, 85 RBI) hitting behind him, Manny Machado is going to get many a good pitch to hit throughout the season.
It is quite odd to see low OPS numbers from three of the first five hitters. The reason for that, however, is not a lack of power, but the fact that they don’t draw walks. Those five hitters hitting consecutively may explain why the walk rates of the first four are relatively low. McLouth has drawn just 32, Machado only 16, Markakis 28, and Jones a measly nine. Davis leads the quintet with 37. With McLouth being protected by Machado, Machado by Markakis, Markakis by Jones, and Jones by Davis, most likely this quartet of hitters are being very aggressive thanks to their protection, which is another reason that Machado just might not slow down too much going down the stretch.
From this point forward, since the Orioles have played their 92nd game the night this article was written, Machado has 70 games remaining to hit 29 doubles to break the record Webb set almost a century ago. Machado has played in every game thus far this year, and shows no sign of needing a rest any time soon, although the All-Star break is right around the corner. The Orioles will need Machado to continue his pace if they wish to make the play-offs this year. While it’s still a bit early to predict the playoff picture, they currently sit in third place in the AL East and are just behind the second Wild Card spot.