J.J. Hardy has provided an important veteran presence in a somewhat young infield in Baltimore. You can assume he has taught young infielders like Manny Machado or Jonathan Schoop the ins and outs of the big leagues. Over the past few years J.J. has hit the most home runs as a shortstop, while still managing to win two Gold Gloves. Although his power numbers have taken a dip this year, he has not let that affect his glove.
Thursday night, Hardy made of the smartest plays you’ll ever see. With a runner on first, a soft line drive was hit up the middle. Hardy could have caught the ball in the air, but he let it bounce, got the easy out at second, and fired over to first to complete the 6-3 double play.
After a double by Nelson Cruz, and a intentional walk to Chris Davis, Hardy blooped a single to right to score the go ahead, and eventual winning, run. Although J.J. has not have had the power of previous seasons, he has came through for the Orioles when needed, and has managed to use the whole field.
— Bud Norris (@BudNorris25) August 29, 2014
Down the stretch, the Orioles will need Hardy to continue to step up in the clutch, driving in runs in the middle of the line up, and playing Gold Glove caliber shortstop anchoring a somewhat unstable infield.