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.
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.