Whether Matt Barnes threw intentionally at Manny Machado’s head or not, we will never know. Even his teammate, Dustin Pedroia, knew that is not the proper way to handle the situation.
This occurred Friday night during the first game of the series, when Machado slid into second base which lead to Pedroia exiting the game. He was later diagnosed with a sore left knee and ankle.
Pedroia said after the game on Friday, “He just made a bad slide. He did hurt me. It’s baseball, man. I’m not mad at him. I love Manny Machado. I love playing against him. I love watching him.”
Machado’s slide was fundamentally a ‘bad slide’, but under no circumstance would it be considered a dirty slide with harsh intentions. Analyzing the video of Machado’s slide, it is clear that he started the slide late and his decision to pick up his foot was to save his ankle from rolling over the base. Also, Machado’s immediate reaction was to catch Pedroia showing his remorse hoping to prevent further injuries.
The ‘beef’ should’ve ended there. Ty Cobb would be appalled and probably turned in his grave every time someone called that a ‘dirty’ slide.
Matt Barnes, who was ejected in the eighth inning of Sunday’s contest, denied intentionally throwing at Orioles Machado’s head, like any other pitcher in his situation.
Barnes said to reporters after the game, “All I know was I was trying to go up and in, trying to get some weak contact with [Adam] Jones on first. Unfortunately one got away from me, and like I said I would never intentionally throw at somebody’s head.” Yet this contradicts the location in which Christian Vazquez was setting up in, low and away. Barnes is caught red-handed throwing at Machado’s head.
Pedroia also denies involvement in the decision to throw behind Machado. He can be seen immediately shouting in Machado’s direction that it wasn’t his idea.
The fact Pedroia said anything after the altercation ruffled a couple of the Orioles’ feathers including Zach Britton, the Orioles closer.
Reaching out to BaltimoreBaseball.com Britton said, “Dustin, him telling Manny, ‘Hey, that didn’t come from me’ may be even more frustrating, Because he’s the leader of that clubhouse and if he can’t control his own teammates, then there’s a bigger issue over there.”
This comment will further escalate the animosity of the recent revival of the Baltimore-Boston rivalry in the AL East. This calls for an exciting and chippy game at Fenway on May 1.