Well, the good feelings in Boston didn’t last very long. One batter after the Orioles’ Adam Jones received a stirring ovation Tuesday from atonement-minded fans at Fenway Park, Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale threw a ball behind Manny Machado, rekindling the teams’ simmering feud.
After the game, a 5-2 Boston win, Machado blasted the Red Sox in lengthy, profanity-strewn comments. He was irate at having been thrown at a second time, following his hard slide on April 21 that knocked Boston’s Dustin Pedroia out of a pair of games.
“[Expletives] coward stuff,” Machado said to reporters of Sale’s pitch. “I mean, that’s stuff that you don’t f—ing do. But I’m not on that side, not in that organization. They are still thinking about that same slide [into Pedroia]. I had no intention on hurting anybody and I’m still paying, still trying to get hit at. Getting thrown at my f—ing head, getting thrown at everywhere. It’s f—ing bulls—. I’ve lost respect for that organization, for that coaching staff, for everyone over there.
“If you’re going to f—ing hit me, hit me, go ahead. Don’t let the s— keep f—ing lingering around and keep trying to f—ing hit people,” the all-star third baseman continued. “It’s f—ing bulls—, and MLB should do something about it. F—ing pitchers out there with f—ing balls in their hands throwing 100 miles per hour, trying to hit people. I’ve got a f—ing bat too. I could go up there and crush somebody if I wanted to, but you know what? I’ll get suspended for a year and the pitcher only gets suspended for two games. That’s not cool.”
“As I see it, I slid into second base normal, and I kind of hurt someone a little bit, unintentionally,” Machado added. He said the Red Sox were “still trying to pay the piper” and that he didn’t know what their “mind-set” was.
Although Machado was hardly picked at random for retaliation, Sale was likely returning a favor from the night before, when Baltimore pitcher Dylan Bundy hit Boston’s Mookie Betts. When asked about throwing at Machado, Sale said simply, “Whatever, man. I’m not losing sleep over it.”
“He was going in with a fastball and pulled it in,’’ Red Sox Manager John Farrell said of Sale’s pitch (via USA Today). “He threw 115 pitches tonight. I don’t know that you can hit the spot every single time you throw the baseball.’’
Meanwhile, Machado regained his composure in time to conduct a PG-rated interview with MASN, but his antipathy for the Red Sox had not cooled. “I lost my respect for that organization and Boston, and how they are handling the whole situation,” Machado said.
“If they want to hit me, hit me, go ahead. Get it over with, don’t keep lingering it around.”
Asked what he expected going forward, Machado said, “They are probably going to try to hit me again [tomorrow]. I’m just going to have to wear it and see what happens.” He added, ominously, “If I’ve got to take care of business on my own, then I’m going have to do something.”
Machado did manage a measure of in-game revenge against Sale, slugging a ball off the star pitcher that soared over the Green Monster for a seventh-inning home run. It was Machado’s sixth homer of the season, as he seeks to go three straight seasons with at least 35.
Jones, who had suffered racial taunts in Monday’s O’s-Sox game but who was received with notable warmth Tuesday, said that Sale’s throw at Machado was “probably not the best move.’’ He added, “Good thing [Sale] didn’t hit him. That was 97 [mph], that wouldn’t have felt good. No way am I going to allow that stuff to happen to the best player on our team.
“He handled it properly. He went deep later, and showed his way of retaliation,” Jones said of Machado. “At the end of the day, the best way to speak in this game is with your bat, your glove, and not with your mouth, and he did a great job.”