Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was forced to leave Friday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles after a late slide by Manny Machado.
It’s no secret that the Red Sox and Orioles don’t like each other. The players don’t like each other and the managers certainly don’t like each other. After a two-game set earlier in the year, O’s manager Buck Showalter said that his team was tired of hearing the Red Sox “complain” about the flu epidemic that claimed time from four of their players. Nothing much came of the comments because they were pretty benign, however, they’re an indicator of the way these two teams view each other.
They don’t need much to spark an already existent rivalry, so all it took was a late slide from Manny Machado to set off the Red Sox’ temper last night. On what would have been a double play, Machado slid with his spikes up and cleated the back of Dustin Pedroia’s left leg – one that he had surgery on in the offseason. Was the slide dirty? Absolutely. Did Machado intend to injure Pedroia? Probably not.
There’s no denying that he intentionally came in with his cleats up on the slide. Some O’s fans on Twitter and Machado himself were arguing that his foot only came up after hitting the bag, but if you watch the replay closely it was elevated before touching second and aimed directly at Pedroia’s leg. It’s clear that he meant to break up the double play but probably didn’t mean to injure Pedroia in the process. If Machado was really looking to hurt him, he could have done much worse. According to his post-game comments, he reached out to Pedey afterward as well.
"I reached out to him, sent him a text to see how everything is all right. I don’t wish bad upon nobody. I don’t want to go out there and hurt someone. I know what it is to be in that position."
In true Pedroia fashion, he said that the play was only a small part of the game and he was more concerned with the Red Sox loss. This wasn’t the first time he’s been cleated and certainly won’t be the last. But what about the new major league slide rule that’s meant to protect middle infielders on this exact play? Pedroia doesn’t care for it too much either.
"I’ve turned the best double play in the major leagues for 11 years. I don’t need the f***** rule."
This is such a cocky quote and vintage Pedey. He doesn’t need protection and he doesn’t want it. On the flip side, what’s the point of having the rule if it’s not going to be enforced? I know that the infielder has to make a clear attempt at a double play, which Pedroia wasn’t able to, but if he’s going to get cleated anyway then the rule is failing. After watching the video repeatedly, there’s just no way to argue that the slide wasn’t meant to deliberately take out his legs.
The team will wait to evaluate the second baseman to determine his availability, though, it seems likely that he’ll miss nothing more than a short period of time. As for today’s game, I would expect that the repercussions will be felt. When you consider who was involved, Machado’s track-record and the fact that these two teams have a mutual disdain for one another – I would suspect that more is to come.