It's September 3rd and the Baltimore Orioles are just one game behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East. There are plenty of factors behind the Orioles' unlikely success.
Manny Machado's amazing barehand play during Monday's matinee game against the Blue Jays is one of them. The unexpected defensive play by Mark Reynolds at first base is another.
Toronto's Yunel Escobar tried to bunt for a hit in the bottom of the second inning, but the 20-year-old Machado charged in and barehanded the ball. Machado then fired a throw to first base, but the ball sailed high and forced Reynolds to fully stretch out to make the catch.
We're not sure who made the better play, Machado or Reynolds. But it doesn't matter.
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Reynolds was one of the main contributors to Baltimore's major league-worst 75 errors at the All-Star break. At the time, he was platooning at third base along with Wilson Betemit.
But the Orioles called up Machado, the third overall draft pick in 2010, in early August and stuck him at third base. Reynolds shifted to first. Ever since, Reynolds has been producing defensive highlights like his two incredible diving plays (to go along with his two homers) in Friday's game against the Yankees and his fielding percentage is .993.