Orioles third baseman Manny Machado caused a benches-clearing incident on Friday after he was unhappy with a tag from Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson and he was in the middle of some more drama this afternoon.
Machado was ejected from today’s game against the Athletics in the bottom of the eighth inning after he appeared to intentionally toss his bat on a swing. A’s left-hander Fernando Abad brushed him back on the previous pitch, possibly in retaliation for Machado hitting catcher Derek Norris in the head with his backswing and knocking him out of the game in his last at-bat. As you’ll see below, the 21-year-old chose a dangerous way to respond to Abad’s pitch:
Machado and Abad were both ejected from the game. Abad shouldn’t be excused for throwing at someone intentionally, but Machado could have really hurt someone, whether it be a player, an umpire, a third base coach, or even a fan. It’s reckless behavior and there’s simply no place for it. He should be embarrassed with his behavior. Here’s hoping MLB sends him a significant message.
For Machado’s part, he says his actions weren’t intentional:
Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.
Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.
Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.
What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.
That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.