There’s not much to write about when the team one’s covering loses 11-1. Or is there? I’ll get to that (and by that you know what I mean) in a moment, but before I do I want to try to do some semblance of a game recap. It’s tough to say that Ubaldo Jimenez put the team in a position to win yesterday. Jimenez’s line: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 2 K. The five walks are the killer there – when all was said and done Baltimore Orioles pitchers had issued 11 in total.
Jimenez walked the first three hitters in the third, and John Jaso proceeded to hit the next pitch out of the ballpark. Or he appeared to at least. Buck Showalter asked for a review, as the O’s felt that the ball hadn’t cleared the back wall. (For the record, the O’s weren’t charged a challenge since the play involved a home run and all home runs are reviewed.) The challenge was sustained, and Jaso was awarded with a two-RBI double.
However Brendan Moss smacked a real grand slam later in the inning, and Oakland had a 6-0 lead. So in a sense, the Orioles would be been better off not not asking for the challenge. Go figure; it’s almost similar in a sense to when teams hit against the shift. Things aren’t supposed to work out that way, but they sometimes do. Oakland would tack on five extra runs as the game wore on, and the O’s finally got on the board in the last of the eighth when Chris Davis drew a bases-loaded walk.
So one question that now lingers is whether or not Jimenez can go on in the rotation. As I’ve said in the past, the O’s can’t simply outright him because they’d be paying him for the next three years plus to play for another team. The bullpen is also an option, however that remains to be seen. Josh Stinson was lifted from Norfolk’s lineup today, and I suspect that a roster move will be made involving Stinson prior to tomorrow night’s game.
So now, the part of the game that everyone’s talking about. We all know what happened; Manny Machado was pitched inside by Oakland reliever Fernado Abad, his bat went flying up
the third base line, the benches Scleared, and both Abad and Machado were ejected. So…what gives?
This of course goes back to the incident with Machado and Josh Donaldson on Friday night. Was Abad throwing at Machado? In my opinion he was, or at the very least he was pitching Machado inside. But that’s not the issue at hand; the real question is whether or not what happened with Machado was the right call on the umpires’ part. The umpires deemed that Machado intentionally threw his bat in anger.
It is in fact possible that the bat flew out of Machado’s hands. It’s tough to judge intent, although umpires seem to be good at it in terms of who’s throwing at whom. Many people argue that it didn’t look good; and in fact it probably didn’t. However I would mention that MLB rules state that throwing equipment (presumably in anger) is an automatic fine. The rules say nothing about a player being ejected for throwing equipment.
That may be semantics, and it may also be an unpopular position. Granted it’s the discretion of the umpire whether or not he allows any player to stay in the game across the board. However in terms of whether or not Machado draws a suspension as a result of this that might be something Orioles fans would hope that the league office takes into account.
Afterwards Buck Showalter was fairly non-committal on the entire episode, whereas Oakland players were a little less charitable. John Jaso felt that Machado was disrespecting the game based on his actions. What I can tell you from observing Manny Machado is that he has a great respect for the game, and he plays it with a bravado that’s rare for someone his age.
Having said that, this might have more involved in it than simply the situation from Friday night. Derek Norris had to come out of the game due to being ticked by Machado’s bat on the backswing. According to Norris, Machado failed to apologize for this – and that’s apparently code among players. On the flip side, Abad also threw towards Machado’s knees, which are obviously parts of his body of which he’s fairly protective (right now).
Ultimately, this was a misunderstanding on Machado’s part (on Friday) that unfortunately ballooned into what we saw yesterday afternoon. Going back to whether or not Machado threw the bat on purpose, I would say that if I had the surgery that he did and had worked so hard to get back, I might throw a bat also if someone threw at my knees.
Whether or not Machado receives a suspension remains to be seen. If he does, he’ll probably appeal and perhaps have the suspension knocked down by a game. I wouldn’t say that Machado is blameless for what happened this weekend, however I don’t see him as a disgrace either.