Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was handed a four game suspension and undisclosed fine for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado on April 23rd
When Manny Machado went into Dustin Pedroia with a late slide and the cleats up it wasn’t a matter of if but when. Machado injured the Sox 2nd baseman and leader showing little to no remorse after the game stating that he was not going to change the way he played the game. Well that wasn’t a smart move. The following day saw Steven Wright pitched and everyone knows that a knuckeball doesn’t send a message. It was going to be a fastball and probably by someone who wasn’t starting.
Low and behold with the Sox up 6 – 0 in the bottom of the 8th inning, Christian Vazquez was looking for a Matt Barnes offering to be on the outside of the dish. Instead, the fastball sailed past Machado’s head hitting off his bat resulting in a foul ball. Home plate umpire came out from behind the dish and immediately ejected Barnes. Pedroia and Machado engaged in a conversation where cameras caught the two speaking to one another. Pedroia was NOT the one who wanted to send the message. We could read his lips stating, “that wasn’t me, that was them. You know that and I know that.”
Pedey hasn’t played since and was removed from the game for precautionary reasons. Since he’s not at 100% he’s not going to play. MRI’s were expected next. Machado has stated there was no malintent but the reviews would should otherwise. I don’t think we can take him for his word given his lengthy track record. He started his slide late and came in with the cleats up. It was anything but clean. You’ve noticed since that play that players are now sliding early before the bag to make sure they aren’t injuring opposing players. The only thing that remained was get Machado back and it would be over.
Barnes never got his revenge for the Sox as the pitch didn’t go where it was supposed to. Thankfully, I’m glad Machado didn’t get hit in the head. No player should have their career ended over a mistake. Yes, Machado was wrong for a dirty slide but it didn’t warrant a head shot. Barnes was ejected and was hit with a four game suspension and was fined an undisclosed amount of money. Barnes is expected to appeal the suspension and I hope he wins or gets the games reduced. A one or two game suspension would be fair, anything more would look like the league targeting the Red Sox.
The mission was a bust. Machado didn’t get hit. It’s time to move on. I’m not happy that the ball almost hit him in the head either. Is it over? It probably should be, but one thing is for sure, Barnes should NOT be suspended for four games. While we all can assume we know what happened, we’ll never really know.
The Sox have a 10-game homestand starting with a three game series first with the Yankees, then a three game series against the Cubs, and it’ll close out with a four game series with the Orioles. Should make for some interesting games and some fireworks are surely to be expected.
Photo Credit – Associated Press