Manager Buck Showalter is trying a unique way to put some spark into the sputtering Orioles’ offense as they start a crucial four-game series against the Rays.
For a team that hasn’t scored more than five runs in the last 16 games for the first time in 21 years, Showalter has constructed a batting order with some familiar names in new places.
For the first time in his career, Manny Machado is leading off. Adam Jones is batting second for the first time since June 3, 2011, and Danny Valencia is batting cleanup.
Valencia is 9-for-12 against Friday night’s starting pitcher for Tampa Bay, David Price. While Valencia has had astounding success against Price, he’s only 3-for-31 when batting cleanup.
Machado is 3-for-9 against last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, and Jones is batting .211 in 38 at-bats.
Matt Wieters (.343) and J.J. Hardy (.313) are batting fifth and sixth. Michael Morse, who’s 2-for-6 against Price, but 3-for24 in his three weeks as an Oriole, is batting eighth.