Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Friday night that he knew how Manny Machado’s slide at second base in the eighth inning would play out as a story into Saturday.
Well, he was right.
It was still a story Saturday afternoon, though Showalter didn’t seem particularly enamored to talk about the incident, which occurred when Machado slid hard into second base, with his foot going over top the bag and spiking Dustin Pedroia in the calf and forcing the star second baseman out of the game.
Machado said several times Friday night that spiking Pedroia wasn’t intentional.
Pedroia was not in Saturday’s lineup and was only available in emergency, said Boston manager John Farrell, who was still ticked that Machado’s slide was not ruled as illegal by the umpiring crew.
“There was some conversation with the league today. Clearly, there’s a difference in opinion in how that rule was interpreted and certainly the slide. Bottom line is this: If that slide last night is not deemed an illegal slide, we should just get rid of the rule,” Farrell said. “As I said after the game last night, there’s got to be deliberate attempt to turn a double play. I don’t know how you can when you’ve got someone laying on your left leg on the left-field side of second base. Still, that was an extremely late slide, and, in my view, an illegal slide.”
When asked his thoughts of Machado’s actions after watching the replay, Showalter said Saturday: “I look at things through Oriole glasses, orange and black, they look at it through (Red Sox glasses). I understand their feelings, but I do understand ours. I didn’t realize for sure until afterwards that Manny was safe at second and then was out when he tried to keep Pedroia from (falling). He knew he had made contact with him. I was talking to him some after the game about what he saw. What do you do?”
Showalter took offense to the suggestion that the Red Sox should retaliate in Saturday’s game to send a message about protecting their players, especially such an important piece as Pedroia.
“I’m not real impressed with some people in the media calling for somebody to be thrown at. I don’t think that really fits their job description. That’s their choice, how they choose to do their job. It’s the world we live in,” Showalter said.
Showalter points out that second baseman Jonathan Schoop was injured in a play two years ago involving a slide by Boston’s Pablo Sandoval that sent Schoop to the disabled list with a knee injury. And that the Orioles didn’t retaliate after that one.
“There’s a lot of respect from both teams for each other. Very much like when Jon (Schoop) got hit (in 2015) by Sandoval, I think it was,” Showalter said. “It was a good hard slide, some people looked at it differently, we didn’t. It was unfortunate. Jon kind of learned a lesson in some ways. A lot of times it has something to do with the feed, too.”
The Orioles manager then addressed the idea of retaliating.
“I’m in a job where things get emotional, things like this, I have to step back, because I do have the safety of some human beings that I have to think about,” he said. “I’ve said many times with people talking about throwing stuff, how are you gonna feel when you’re standing at home plate and some guy has got hit in the head and there’s blood coming out of his ears? Do you really feel that manly making that decision? Is that really, really smart? I try to step back sometimes and I’m not always good at it.”
For his part, Pedroia talked to the Boston media this afternoon and wouldn’t cast judgment on the play or Machado.
“I’m not the baseball police, man,” he said. “I got three kids. I don’t have time for that.”
He acknowledged that Machado did contact him after the game.
“Yeah, he texted me. He just said he hopes I’m OK. I just said ‘Thanks for reaching out,’” Pedroia said. “I don’t have an issue with anything. My job’s to play baseball and win. This isn’t seventh grade, man. You know what I mean? I just play baseball. That’s it. I care about our guys. I don’t care about anybody else. So, we just play the game.”
One last thing on this – this became more of an issue because it was Machado doing the sliding and spiking. And he’s had dust-ups in the past. No question in my mind.
I asked Showalter if he thought the incident would have the same resonance if it were, J.J. Hardy, for instance, doing the sliding.
“Honestly, probably not. Maybe not the emotional part of it or the drama part of it,” Showalter said before switching the subject.