The Red Sox, apparently upset at having lost the series to the Orioles, got their “revenge” against Manny Machado for what was said by the Red Sox manager and media, despite being contradicted by all video evidence, to have been a dirty slide in Friday night’s game.
In the bottom of the eighth inning of Sunday’s one-sided contest, reliever Matt Barnes came up and in with a pitch that went so far behind Machado’s head that the pitch actually struck his bat, which was behind his shoulder.
Mainstream Red Sox media, including writers with the Boston Globe, CSN New England, and WEEI radio, all treated it as a certainty that Machado would be hit later in the series, so it’s not a ton of surprise to see the following reaction to a video of the pitch from some guy who writes for Barstool Sports:
Matt Barnes drinks for free. pic.twitter.com/DjOdNimbu2— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) April 23, 2017
Barnes was ejected immediately for this blatant, pathetic attempt at headhunting. Both managers ended up coming onto the field, but the dugouts and bullpens did not empty.
The result of the pitch was actually a foul ball. You can see the ball hit his bat, not where you expect a foul ball usually, but that’s the way it goes. Machado got his own revenge of a sort by crushing an RBI double over the head of Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to conclude the plate appearance - the first Orioles run in the game. This was the first pitch thrown by the new reliever, Joe Kelly.
Although Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to protest the ejection, the intent of the pitch was so obvious that any argument to the contrary does not even need to be considered.
As the MASN broadcast noted, this was not the first time the Sox had come in on Machado. An earlier walk when starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez was still in the game was on four pitches, with three of them floating well inside towards Machado’s knees.
Mike Bordick, in an uncommon and perhaps even unprecedented display of on-air negative emotion, was very heated about the whole set of events. He noted that he had observed a dugout conversation after Rodriguez’s three inside pitches against Machado, then later on someone throws at Machado. “You tell me,” Bordick concluded.
It’s worth noting that Dustin Pedroia, who has been out of the lineup since being removed following Machado’s Friday night slide, was caught on camera in the aftermath appearing to say that this headhunting wasn’t coming from him:
Fascinating exchange captured by MASN between Machado and Pedroia. Dustin clearly saying "It wasn't me. I know that and you know that." pic.twitter.com/oqdt827ER9— Dave Tucker (@TestudoDave) April 23, 2017
Whether Barnes will be fined or suspended by MLB for this action is something that we will have to wait and see.