I don’t want this to seem like I’m picking on Jonathan Schoop. This post isn’t intended to do that. It’s more just a testament to how spoiled we Orioles fans got by watching Manny Machado man the hot corner.
As I wrote on Monday, Schoop has committed four errors this season — all four have come at third base. On Patriots Day in Boston, the 22-year-old was back at third base in the Orioles finale against the Red Sox. While he didn’t commit an error, he did have three plays that stuck out to me.
Bottom 5th – 2 Outs – Orioles 6, Red Sox 2
Dustin Pedroia doubles down the line to score Jackie Bradley Jr. Schoop leaps to his right to make a catch, but the ball just skims by his glove. It’s a difficult play, but one that we’ve seen Machado make in his highlight reel of catches.
Bottom 7th – 2 Outs – Orioles 6, Red Sox 4
Brock Holt goes the opposite way and singles over a jumping Schoop and into left field. The tying run comes to the plate, but the O’s escape. Did Schoop jump a little too soon or was there no way he could have stopped the ball from traveling into left field?
Bottom 8th – 2 Outs – Orioles 7, Red Sox 5
Xander Bogaerts hits a grounder between shortstop and third base, just slightly out of Schoop’s range. Perhaps a dive could have knocked the ball down, but based on where he was positioned, maybe not. Again, this play allows the tying run to come to the plate (and later reach first base).
None of these plays are particularly easy, but how many does Machado, or any above replacement level defender at third for that matter, make on them?