Machado suffered a freak knee injury on the last day of the '13 season in Tampa Bay, which forced him in to reconstructive knee surgery during the off-season. He would miss the first month of this season after surgery, and since then, his numbers have steadily declined. With this being his first major injury in is big league career, Machado has not looked like himself. He has looked uneasy both physically, and mentally on the field.
Following the injury, Machado's numbers were down, including his strikeouts total going up, and struggling to keep his batting average over .200. All of this following a season in which he lead the league in doubles with 51 of them. His numbers declining caused frustration in the young star, as he began to show more of an attitude on the field. This included getting in to a pushing match with Josh Donaldson of the A's, and then throwing his bat down the third base line on a pitch that nearly hit him. This was a side of Machado that we had yet to see. He was suspended 5 games following those incidents, and lost the appeal.
Following the suspension, Machado began to heat up a little bit, getting his average around .270, with 5 homer runs, and 15 RBI in 20 games post-suspension. Whether or not that was just a hot streak bound to end soon or not will never be known. His sparkling defense has always been there, including leading the league with a .973 fielding percentage at third last season. That defense didn't go away with the knee injury, and he continue to make his traditional backhanded play and show off his strong arm across the diamond.
The O's have an offense that rarely keeps the ball in the ballpark, and in a hitter-friendly park of Camden Yards. They do not have much pitching as their rotation has struggled with injuries which will cost them in the postseason. Their offense has been what has kept them on top in the AL East, including sitting in the top 10 with a .257 team average, and leading the majors in home runs with 162 of them. They have had big contributions from unlikely sources of Jonathan Schoop and Steve Pearce, with J.J Hardy and Chris Davis struggling. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis have been the most consistent players offensively. So Machado's defense surely will be missed, but with his offensive numbers declining, and the rest of the O's offensive numbers climbing, Machado's absence should not slow down Baltimore's high-powered offense.