Red Sox

Drellich: Dustin Pedroia says it without saying it... Manny Machado went too far

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Drellich: Dustin Pedroia says it without saying it... Manny Machado went too far

As Red Sox manager John Farrell said, it’s baffling the rules didn’t protect Dustin Pedroia on Friday night. Amazing that the umpires didn’t grant an extra out for the Red Sox in the eighth inning when Manny Machado overslid second base and took out Pedroia.

Pedroia, who dropped an F-bomb with the cameras rolling after the game, said he wasn’t mad about a high-spike into his left leg.

At the same time, the second baseman brilliantly and subtly highlighted why Machado went too far.

"I don't even know what the rule is. I've turned the best double play in the major leagues for 11 years,” said Pedroia, who had to leave the game because of the slide. “I don't need the (expletive) rule, let's be honest. The rule is irrelevant. The rule is for people with bad footwork, and that's it.”

Follow the logical progression. 

If things unfold normally, Pedroia protects himself. He knows how to keep himself safe at second base. He knows how to handle an oncoming runner. 

On Friday, he was awaiting a throw from Xander Bogaerts on the outfield side of the bag, as far from the oncoming Machado as can be.

No, Pedroia didn’t put himself in danger Friday night. He never does.

Machado did something Pedroia couldn't have expected. And it doesn’t matter whether Machado intended to or not.

Buck Showalter had no problem mocking the Red Sox for all the illnesses they went through early in the season. 

How strange that on Friday night, after Machado spiked Pedroia, the often verbose O’s manager didn’t have much to say about a particular slide he witnessed firsthand.

"I know it’s one of those things that’s really unfortunate,” Showalter said, per the Boston Herald. “You don’t like to see those things happen.”

Every member of the Sox, in fact, did not like to see that thing happen in a 2-0 loss Friday at Camden Yards.

Machado, one of the greatest players anywhere, may not have meant to drive his right foot into the area of Pedroia’s left calf and knee.

Consider that Pedroia is particularly reticent to call attention to his health situations. He had a torn ligament in his thumb in 2013 that he didn’t mention until a reporter dug it up.

It’s notable, then, that Pedroia mentioned he was worried about his surgically repaired knee when Machado hit him. He was, in effect, highlighting why the slide was particularly dangerous.

Maybe Machado’s intent was just to knock Pedroia down more gently.

You can see it that way. You can see how Machado might have been trying so hard to get to the bag that he simply slid late. You can see how perhaps the only place Machado's foot could go was up, and subsequently right into Pedroia’s leg.

You can also remember the body control a top athlete has. The fact that Machado's eyes appeared fixed straight ahead as he made the slide, his head raised high enough to see where he was going. 

You can also acknowledge the level of responsibility Machado has to not act recklessly, to not overdo it — even if he carries no malice.

You can also remember Machado’s history. This is a guy who once threw a bat at a pitcher.

"It wasn’t intentional — just look at the replay,” Machado told reporters, including Orioles.com. “You guys will see it. Me and Pedey go back. I would never want to hurt a guy like that.”

Machado told Orioles reporters he texted Pedroia. Machado also clearly tried to show Pedey some caring immediately after the slide.

Whatever.

A player can’t overslide the base with his spike high and injure an opponent — a star player, no less — as Machado did, then expect everyone to say, “No big deal, let’s move on.”

Showalter, finding some words, seemed to predict some form of retaliation, noting he knows how these things usually go the next day.

“He passed the base if you’re asking me,” Bogaerts told reporters. “He's the leader, you know? He's the heart and soul of this team and to see him go down like that, he could barely walk off the field. That was pretty tough to see unfold right there.”

It doesn't unfold this way often for a reason. Pedroia knows what he's doing. Most runners do too.

David Ortiz holds impressive American League record this century

David Ortiz holds impressive American League record this century

David Ortiz is one of MLB's best designated hitters of all time.

For 14 years, Ortiz played as a member of the Boston Red Sox after the Minnesota Twins let him go. In Boston, Ortiz became one of the game's most powerful sluggers and posted a career average of .290 with 483 homers with the Red Sox.

Given Ortiz's immense success with the club, it's no surprise that he's among the century's best at launching the long ball. According to Boston Sports Info (@BostonSportsInf on Twitter), Ortiz has more home runs this century than any other player in the American League.

Ortiz just edged out Alex Rodriguez (507 homers) for the overall lead though Ortiz did it in 438 more at-bats. Aside from A-Rod, no other player is within 100 homers of Big Papi.

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This is surely an impressive mark and it speaks to just how good Ortiz was during his time with Boston. When adding in his 17 postseason homers, Ortiz hit exactly 500 career homers with the Red Sox and helped power them to three World Series titles during his time with the team. And 93 percent of his homers this century, postseason included, came in a Red Sox uniform.

It may take a while for any player to pass Ortiz for this high-water mark. Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout is probably the most likely candidate to pass Ortiz as the 28-year-old currently has 285 homers in 4,340 at-bats that have all come with the Angels. Trout is under contract with the Angels until 2031 so unless he's traded out of the AL, he seems to be on pace to eventually beat Ortiz.

But that could take close to another decade. And until then, Ortiz will reign supreme on this century's AL home run leaderboard.

10 memorable individual performances in Red Sox home openers

10 memorable individual performances in Red Sox home openers

Today should've been the 108th opener at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox as they were to host the Chicago White Sox to begin their home schedule.

But as we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has changed that as well as the rest of the world. 

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There's still hope that they'll be baseball at Fenway in 2020, but on the day the gates were supposed to open and signal the unofficial start of spring in Boston, let's look back at a few of the Red Sox's most memorable individual performances with some Opening Day Dreaming Delivered by Coors Light.

April 20, 1912

The Red Sox christened Fenway Park by beating their rivals from New York, then known as the Highlanders, 7-6 in 11 innings before 24,000, including Mayor John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, grandfather of future president John F. Kennedy, and the Royal Rooters.

Tris Speaker (pictured, 3-for-6, two RBI, game-winning single) and Steve Yerkes (5-for-7) were your hitting heroes for a team that would go on to win the World Series. 

April 12, 1916

A left-hander named Babe Ruth held the Philadelphia A's to one unearned run on four hits and strikes out six in 8 1/3 innings. He went 0-for-2 batting ninth, proving he didn't have much of a future as a hitter. The '16 Sox would go on to win the World Series. 

April 6, 1973

On a day that featured the debut of the designated hitter in the American League, catcher Carlton Fisk, coming off his rookie of the year season, got his second year off to a booming start with three hits, including a two-run homer of Yankees ace Mel Stottlemyre, and six RBI as the Sox spotted their archrivals a three-run lead and roll, 15-5.

(Now, if we could just forget Fisk's three-run, eighth-inning homer for the White Sox in a 5-3 Red Sox loss in the Fenway opener in '81 after Boston let him switch Sox as a free agent that winter.) 

April 10, 1998

Mo Vaughn hit a walk-off grand slam to cap the Red Sox' rally from a five-run deficit off a Mariners bullpen that featured ex-Sox relievers Tony Fossas and Heathcliff Slocumb and future Sox reliever Mike Timlin.

Those that stuck around Fenway when it was 7-2 to start the ninth headed home happy after an 8-7 win on Opening Day. The Sox would go on to make the playoffs at 92-70 but were eliminated in the ALDS by the Cleveland Indians. 

April 1, 2002

Tony Clark, the future head of the MLB Players Association, was a Red Sox first baseman for 90 games in 2002. In the first of those, he went 3-for-5 with a home run and drove in three runs.

The Sox needed all of them in a wild 12-11 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Clark would help the Sox out even more two years later when, as a Yankee, his ground-rule double in the ninth kept Ruben Sierra from scoring from first and ending ALCS Game 5 and with it, the Sox' World Series hopes.

April 11, 2005 

In addition to being memorable for the pregame ring ceremony and banner raising that was 86 years in the making (and for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera being cheered and Alex Rodriguez, pictured, jeered by the Fenway fans for their roles in the Sox' 2004 pennant), the Sox got a strong pitching performance from Tim Wakefield in an 8-1 thumping of the Yankees.

Veterans of '04 Wakefield (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 5 SOs), Trot Nixon (2-for-3, two RBI) and Doug Mirabelli (two-run homer) started '05 off right.

April 8, 2008

The Sox home opener in 2008 was another banner-raising day that included a tearful Bill Buckner emerging from the Green Monster to a standing ovation to throw out the first pitch.

After the pregame festivities, the Sox rolled to a 5-0 shutout over the Detroit Tigers. Kevin Youkilis went 3-for-3 with two RBI and Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed four hits and struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings. 

April 7, 2009

Josh Beckett held the Tampa Bay Rays to one run on two hits and struck out 10 as the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3.

Beckett would go on to win 17 games and the Sox racked up 95 victories that season before being swept by the Angels in the ALDS.

April 8, 2013

Clay Buchholz got another championship season off to a great start as he shut out the Baltimore Orioles for seven innings on three hits.

Daniel Nava's three-run homer provided the offense in a 3-1 victory.

April 13, 2015

Mookie Betts showed off his future MVP form early in the 2015 season with a 2-for-4, four-RBI day that included a three-run homer in the second inning and two stolen bases in the first.

All of that came after he robbed Bryce Harper of a home run in the first with a leaping grab in front of the bullpen fence in right. The Sox went on to a 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals but it didn't portend to good things as they finished 78-84 and last in the AL East. 

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