Sometimes, you don’t even need to write the story. The actions and the quotes write themselves.
In the eighth inning Sunday of the Orioles’ 6-2 loss, Boston reliever Matt Barnes threw a 90-mph pitch that nearly hit Manny Machado in the head. It seemed to be obvious retaliation for Machado’s hard slide Friday night that spiked Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia in the calf and has kept the Red Sox star from playing.
During Sunday’s game, Pedroia and Machado had an exchange in which Pedroia clearly was saying he didn’t initiate or endorse the beanball and he later said that on the record.
Barnes, who was ejected, said the pitch just got away, but he understood what it looked like. And said he was sorry the ball nearly hit Machado in the head.
Machado said he wasn’t expecting retaliation – that it was a clean slide Friday – and that intentional or not, pitchers can’t hit batters in the head.
Machado went on to say he feels like he’s always the villain, when he’s just trying to play hard.
Pedroia agreed that throwing at a batter’s head is unacceptable, and that he apologized to Machado and wasn’t happy with Barnes’ decision.
Here are their words on the subject:
Machado on the near beaning: “You never want to get hit in the head, intentionally or not, it don’t matter. You don’t want to get hit in the head. It is what it is. We’ve got to go out there and handle our business that we need to do. We lost the game today. That’s all that matters. Who cares about the situation that happened? It’s not on us. We did the right thing out there, and we’ve got to continue to do what we’ve got to do out there, continue to do the things that we always have been doing and move on to the next series.”
Machado on whether he thought he might get hit: “I wasn’t expecting anything, no. I have no idea. I thought I did a good slide. Everyone knows. Everyone saw the replay on that side. That’s on them. Whatever happened today, I’m going to keep doing me.”
Machado on not charging Barnes but still feeling he is branded a villain: “You just be mature about the situation. I don’t want to get suspended. I think everyone already knows out there that they think I’m the villain. It’s always me. Manny always does something wrong. You know, it’s never me. I just go out there and play a game that I love and leave it on the field. And I play with heart. So, whatever happens between the lines stays in between the lines and I’m not really going to put (more) into it.”
Machado on why he thinks he has ‘the villain’ reputation: “I mean, it’s just how it is, you know? Media people, all you guys, want to write bad about me. It’s always my fault and this and that. So I mean… you know what? I go out there and care about what everyone here has to think about me, 25 guys in here and the coaching staff. I play for my team. I play with my heart. I play with everything I’ve got. And that’s the only thing we can control in this game. We can’t control how many hits we get or how many games we’re gonna win. But being a good teammate and being good to your teammates is the No. 1 priority.”
Machado on what Pedroia said to him afterward: “You guys saw it in TV. You guys got it clearly Those are things that stay between men. Those are things that are said between us and we don’t really like to talk about it.”
Machado on Pedroia’s comments about how the situation was handled: “Pedey said is what Pedey said. Those are his words and what he feels about the situation. I’m going to respect Pedey to the end of this day. I look up to a guy like that. Whatever he says and whatever is going on on that side is up to them and up to the situation, At the end of the day he knows what happened. I respect him to the end of the day He shot me a text, so it’s just part of the game. Part of baseball.”
Pedroia on his thoughts about Barnes’ pitch: “I had nothing to do with that. That’s not how you do that, man. I’m sorry to him and his team. If you’re going to protect guys you do it right away. He knows that and both teams know that. Definitely a mishandled situation.”
Pedroia on Machado: “There’s zero intentions of him (Machado) trying to hurt me. He just made a bad slide and did hurt me. It’s baseball, man. I’m not mad at him. I love Manny Machado. Love playing against him. Love watching him. If I slide into third base and got Manny’s knee, I know I’m going to get drilled. It’s baseball. I get drilled I go to first base. I apologized to him. C’mon man.”
Barnes on whether it was a purpose pitch: “No, absolutely not. I would never intentionally throw at someone’s head. That’s kind of a line you don’t cross. I’m sorry that it kind of ended up that high. Fortunately, it didn’t hit him. I think he probably has every right to be mad that that one got loose.”
Barnes on what the pitch looked like: “People are going to think what they want. All I know is I was trying to go up and in. Trying to get some weak contact with Jones on first. Unfortunately, one got away from me. As I said, I would never intentionally throw at someone’s head. That’s potentially life changing. That’s unacceptable.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter on the situation: “The pitch was there. Whether he threw at him or not, I’ll let him and the good Lord answer. I’m not going to get into that. Let all of you weigh in on all that stuff. There were a lot of factors that drove what happened out there today and I’m sure you guys will expound on that because that’s what they want you all to do.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell on Barnes: “Like I said, he’s trying to go up and in. Make no mistake, the ball got away from him. My comments are what they are. It’s a dangerous pitch when you get up and in there. Thankfully, he didn’t get it.”