That headline is a sincere question at this point, seeking not only a factual answer, but also expressing exhaustion at the postseason of Manny Machado.
After failing to hustle at times in the NLCS, getting grief for it and admitting that sometimes he just doesn’t hustle, Machado did it again earlier this World Series. I don’t understand how that happens.
After kicking Jesus Aguilar in the NLCS, getting grief for it and pinning the incident on Aguilar’s foot placement while sounding anything but apologetic, Machado did it again last night in the World Series. How in the world does this happen?
Machado blows a bubble while running to first and steps on Pearce's ankle pic.twitter.com/QO7qcgEqVE
— Heart of MLB (@HeartofMLB) October 28, 2018
That looks bad. But, unlike the Aguilar incident, which was crystal clear, I think you could question whether this one was intentional or just really sloppy. Machado said it was the latter after the game, and Steve Pearce didn’t seem bothered by a guy he called “the best person I know in this game.” The two played together in Baltimore and are friends.
So maybe this one is nothing, even though there was plenty of space for Machado to not step on the back of Pearce’s foot. But, I mean, it’s not like you see this “accidentally” happening all the time. It never happens. And given that Machado has done little to earn the benefit of the doubt lately, I’m just sitting here perplexed. I’m perplexed by how a guy could do this stuff at all, let alone in the World dang Series on the eve of trying to land a $300 million contract in free agency.
As it relates to the Cubs’ possible pursuit of Machado, I just don’t know what to make of this stuff, especially given that Machado does have a history of questionable and dangerous decisions on the field. Selective hustle? Eh, I can deal with that. But these kinds of plays? Kicking guys, spiking guys, throwing bats, etc.? I don’t know what to do with that.
Add it to the file for now, I guess, and we’ll re-evaluate in the offseason, which could come as soon as tonight if the Red Sox finish off the Dodgers.