At the beginning of the season, Baltimore's top prospect Manny Machado was trying too hard to get the results he wanted. Paradoxically, it was only when he took the foot off the gas that he started to climb uphill.
"I was just trying to overdo things," he said. "I just took it down a notch and am doing what I can control."
That approach continued to work for MLB.com's No. 3 prospect on Friday, when he went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs to help the Double-A Bowie Baysox defeated the Binghamtom Mets, 8-5.
Over his last four games, Machado is batting .500 (8-for-16) with two homers, a double and eight RBIs. The Baysox have won all four of those contests and their last six overall.
"I'm just feeling well," he said. "I'm not trying to do too much. Less is more for me right now. That's what's going through my mind. I'm trying to relax and not do too much."
Machado went hitless in his first two plate appearances Friday before smacking a two-run double in the sixth. The 19-year-old shortstop added a single in the eighth to tally his ninth multi-hit performance of the month.
Machado's batting average dropped to a season-low .233 in early June, but he seemed to put things together in the middle of the month. Since June 12, he is batting .366 with three home runs, doubling his season total for longballs to six.
"I finally got my timing down and I feel great at the plate," Machado said. "I'm not really trying to hit any home runs, just trying to make good contact. Fortunately, I make good contact sometimes and they go out."
Overall, Machado is hitting .267 with 28 extra-base hits and 30 RBIs in 77 games. Though he has been carrying a hot bat of late, he wasn't ready to say that he has fully adjusted to Double-A competition.
"I wouldn't say I got used to it yet," he said. "I just feel comfortable at the plate. I finally feel right. I'm not putting any pressure on myself, no expectations. I'm just having fun playing the game."
Talking about his first half, Machado conceded things could have been better, but he thinks he performed "all right" considering it is his first year at Double-A. Over the rest of the season, he will simply look to continue his no-expectations approach.
"I don't really put goals, long-term goals," Machado said. "Just short-term goals, taking it day by day. Just do what I can control."