So, just when you thought it was safe to dismiss the Orioles and Red Sox as potential combatants, Sunday’s eighth inning happened.
Reliever Matt Barnes threw a 90-mph pitch behind Machado – basically at his head – and it bounced off Machado’s bat and then hit his back before rolling to the grass. You can see video of the incident here.
Quickly, home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes while Machado walked slowly up the first baseline, never taking a step toward the mound.
Give credit to Fletcher for defusing the situation and Machado for not losing his head when it was thrown at.
It all stemmed, of course, from what happened in the eighth inning of Friday’s game when Machado slid hard into second base and, ultimately, spiked Dustin Pedroia in the calf. Pedroia hasn’t played since.
MASN cameras caught an exchange between Machado and Pedroia while the game was delayed as the umpires sorted out what had happened (manager John Farrell appealed the hit by pitch and it was correctly overturned).
In the MASN shot, Pedroia clearly is yelling to Machado, saying he did not order a pitch to the head: “It wasn’t me. … You know that and I know that.”
Machado pointed to his head, but moments later seemed to say, “I got you,” and tapped his chest.
Machado ended up doubling in that at-bat. And came up again in the ninth with the Orioles trailing by four with two runners on. But Boston closer Craig Kimbrel got Machado to pop up to end the game and the Orioles’ chance at a sweep.
Just a reminder, these teams play 14 more times this year.