LOS ANGELES — At some point, somebody should hold Manny Machado accountable. Somebody should punish him for behavior that has ranged from absurd to potentially dangerous.
But it won’t be the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Not a chance.
The Dodgers will be the last ones to take action against their starting shortstop. That’s despite what transpired Tuesday night when they beat the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 in 13 innings, evened the National League Championship Series at 2-2 and endured more Manny madness.
Madness might be too charitable a word to describe Machado’s actions in the bottom of the 10th inning when, while running out a ground ball, he kicked Brewers first basemanJesus Aguilar.
After the game, Aguilar said he and Machado had patched things up.
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But Christian Yelich, the Milwaukee Brewers star outfielder, told reporters, “A dirty play by a dirty player.”.
Brewers first baseman Travis Shaw told reporters, “It’s a dirty play. (Machado) can say whatever he wants. It was dirty.”.
The criticism doesn’t appear to bother Machado, who was asked to respond to criticism from the Brewers.
“I play baseball,” he said. “I try to go out there and win for my team. If that’s their comments, that’s their comments. I can’t do anything about that.”.
But he can put an end to his ongoing antics. Four games into the NLCS, he has failed to run out a ground ball, gotten called for interference on a misguided slide into second, signaled for time when a pitcher already and … The list goes on and the Dodgers don’t really care.
Call them apologists and opportunists, but they’re also realists.
Machado might drive you crazy. But what drives the Dodgers crazy is not having won a World Series in 30 years. The Dodgers acquired him in July for that very reason.
Unlike Yelich, the only dirt the Dodgers are worried about is the dirt on Machado’s baseball pants. He might not run out every ground ball — “I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,'” he told Fox during a pregame interview — but the Dodgers will shrug off the silly remark and focus on what he’s done.
Such as reach base with one out in the bottom of the 13th on a broken-bat single to left.
Then advance to second base on a wild pitch.
And with two outs, and after almost getting picked off at second — Manny being Manny — suddenly looking like Johnny Hustle.
Cody Bellinger belted a two-out single to right, and Machado sprinted hard as his lungs and legs would allow and dove headfirst to ensure he beat the throw to the plate.
In the NLCS, Machado is batting .353 (6-for-17) with three runs scored, three RBI and a home run.
Keep this in mind: After Game 4, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was asked about Machado colliding with Aguilar, who Roberts referred to as Aggie.
“I think it was one of those things where I think Aggie had his foot on first base,” Roberts said, “and didn’t give Manny a whole lot of room on the bag.”.
By contrast, as the Dodgers attempt to end their World Series drought, they’re giving Machado lots and lots of room.