Brief history of Manny Machado acting like a malcontent

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Manny Machado has become a lightning rod for criticism for the way he has played throughout the NLCS this past week. As Machado had previously never played in a League Championship Series, this may be many members of the national audience’s first real look at the All-Star infielder. What they may not realize is that Machado has a bit of a baseball rap sheet.

June 7, 2014

Machado, then an Oriole, became involved in a feud with the Athletics. On June 7, he was tagged out on his way to third base by Josh Donaldson. Donaldson ran towards Machado, who backpedaled, then tried to shimmy his way around the tag and lost his balance in the process. As he fell, Machado slammed his helmet down in Donaldson’s direction. Donaldson held his hand out as if to say, “What the heck?” The two exchanged words and the benches spilled out into the field.

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The next day, Machado swung at a pitch and hit catcher Derek Norris with his follow-through, which forced Norris out of the game. Later in the game, A’s reliever Fernando Abad threw a couple of pitches inside to Machado. Machado then swung and missed at a pitch and flung his bat towards third base. Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne said as the incident unfolded, “You know where that bat was intended to go? To the pitcher.” Catcher Stephen Vogt and Machado exchanged words and the benches once again emptied. Machado was fined and suspended five games.

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June 7, 2016

Royals starter Yordano Ventura threw two fastballs high and inside to Machado, who then hit a fly ball to left field. On his way off the field, Machado stared down Ventura and had some words for him. In the fifth, Ventura hit Machado on the back with a fastball, so Machado charged the mound and threw some punches at Ventura. Machado was suspended four games.

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April 21, 2017

Machado was on first base when Mark Trumbo hit a weak grounder to shortstop. Xander Bogaerts fed the ball to Dustin Pedroia at second base. Machado slid hard into Pedroia’s leg, knocking him down. Machado appeared to be immediately concerned about Pedroia’s wellbeing. Pedroia left the game and ended up missing the next five days.

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That didn’t stop the Red Sox from seeking vengeance. On April 23, reliever Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head and was immediately ejected. Pedroia was seen by TV cameras saying to Machado, “You know that it wasn’t me. It’s them.” The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so the pitch counted as a strike.

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Pedroia said he didn’t fault Machado for the slide and even apologized to him for Barnes’ actions. Barnes was suspended four games.

On May 2, Chris Sale threw behind Machado’s knees. Both the Red Sox and Orioles were issued warnings and nothing more happened during the game. After the game, however, Machado went on a profanity-laced tirade, talking badly about the Red Sox organization and insinuated that he could go after a pitcher with his bat if he is thrown at again.

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June 27, 2018

Machado failed to run hard when he hit into a 4-6-3 double play. He apologized after the game for his lack of effort.

October 13, 2018

Machado grounded out to Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia in the fourth inning of Game 2 of the NLCS. Arcia took his time throwing to first base for the out because Machado did not run hard. Manager Dave Roberts said he didn’t feel a need to punish the shortstop during the playoffs for his infraction. Machado later told Ken Rosenthal on the FS1 broadcast, “Obviously I’m not going to change. I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”

In Game 3, Machado made two illegal slides into Arcia attempting to break up double plays. The first happened in the second inning. After Machado hit a leadoff single, Cody Bellinger hit a grounder to second baseman Travis Shaw, who threw to Arcia at the second base bag. Machado slid right into Arcia, causing Arcia to not even attempt a throw to first base. If he had, Bellinger likely would have been called out at first base because of Machado’s interference. The second infraction happened in the fourth inning. Machado drew a leadoff walk and Bellinger again hit a double play grounder, this time to Jesús Aguilar at first base. Aguilar fired to Arcia at the second base bag. Machado slid into the bag but reached across his body with his right hand to try to make Arcia’s life more difficult throwing to first base. The throw was a bit off-line and Bellinger was safe, but was later ruled out when the umpires ruled that Machado interfered.

And as we all know in Game 4, Machado grounded out to Arcia in the 10th inning. As he crossed the first base bag, Machado dragged his left leg so it hit Aguilar’s right leg on the bag. Aguilar wasn’t happy with what happened and the two exchanged some unkind words, causing both benches to empty. Both players appeared to make up when Machado reached in the 13th following a single. Machado, however, was fined an undisclosed amount for his actions.

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Machado is now 26 years old and has been in the league for seven seasons. His behavior might be expected of a rookie or an otherwise young player. It’s not expected of someone in his mid-20’s who has been around a while. His behavior doesn’t seem like something that can be taught out of him anymore; he’s just a hothead. Machado, however, is so talented that his antics aren’t likely to weaken his market when he hits free agency once the postseason is over. He and Bryce Harper will be two of the most sought-after free agents this winter. Perhaps a big pay day will help Machado calm down.

Phillies’ 6-run ninth tops Cardinals in 6-3 wild-card win

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ST. LOUIS — Philadelphia scored six times in the ninth inning off the stingy St. Louis bullpen, highlighted by a bases-loaded single by Jean Segura, and the Phillies beat the NL Central champion Cardinals 6-3 on Friday in the opening game of their National League wild-card series.

The Cardinals, who were 74-3 on the season when leading after eight innings, were poised to put away another close game after Juan Yepez connected for the first go-ahead pinch-hit homer in franchise history with two outs in the seventh inning.

But after struggling all afternoon against Jose Quintana and the St. Louis bullpen, the Phillies finally got their powerful offense going against Ryan Helsley. JT Realmuto began the ninth-inning rally with a single, and walks for Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos loaded the bases before the All-Star closer plunked Alec Bohm to score a run.

The Cardinals training staff came out to check on Helsley, who had jammed the middle finger on his pitching hand earlier in the week in Pittsburgh. He tried to throw another warmup pitch but was pulled for Andre Pallante, who gave up Segura’s hit through the right side of the infield that put Philadelphia in front.

Edmundo Sosa added a run when he brazenly scored on Bryson Stott‘s grounder to first base, and Brandon Marsh drove in another run when a tough hop got past Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong.

By the time Kyle Schwarber added a sacrifice fly, Phillies reliever Zach Eflin had plenty of wiggle room in the ninth.

It looked as if Eflin might need it, too, when Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson reached base and Nolan Gorman hit a two-out single to right. But Eflin responded by striking Yadier Molina to end the game, leaving Philadelphia a win away from facing NL East champion Atlanta in the divisional round.

There was a sentimental breeze sweeping through Busch Stadium before the game. Ozzie Smith cheerfully walked to the mound to deliver a ceremonial first pitch, and if the flag-waving Cardinals fans packed into every nook and cranny closed their eyes during introductions, they might have thought they were watching a game a generation ago.

After all, some familiar faces were in the lineup from the last time St. Louis and Philadelphia met in the playoffs.

That was 11 years ago to the day Friday, when the Cardinals beat the Phillies in a dramatic pitchers’ duel between Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay in Game 5 of the NL divisional series. Molina and Albert Pujols played for St. Louis that night while erstwhile ace Adam Wainwright, pitching out of the bullpen this series, also was there to celebrate.

Just like that night in Philadelphia, pitching dominated most of Friday’s series opener.

Quintana, who arrived in a deadline trade from Pittsburgh, was masterful for the Cardinals, allowing only a single to Matt Vierling and a double to Bohm while pitching into the sixth. His day was done after fanning Schwarber for the second time on his 75th pitch, handing the game over to a relief corps that had been downright dominant this season.

Zack Wheeler was the equal of Quintana, allowing a leadoff single to Lars Nootbaar and nothing else until Tommy Edman‘s leadoff single in the sixth. Edman was left stranded on third when Paul Goldschmidt grounded out.

Wheeler departed after retiring Arenado to start the seventh. He struck out four and walked one on 96 pitches, his most since Aug. 20, shortly before the right-hander landed on the injured list with forearm tendinitis.

Then it came down to the bullpens, and the Phillies managed to overcome one of the best in the game.

UP NEXT

The Phillies will try for the wild-card sweep on Saturday night when they send right-hander Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) to the mound. He was stellar his last time out against Houston in clinching Philadelphia’s wild-card playoff spot.

The Cardinals will turn to right-hander Miles Mikolas (12-13, 3.29 ERA) to force a decisive Game 3. Mikolas struggled in a tune-up out of the bullpen in Pittsburgh but allowed one earned run over his last two starts.