Manny Machado picked a bad time to take a play off.
With the eyes of the baseball world upon him, the Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop and soon-to-be free agent failed to hustle on a ground ball during their 4-3 win against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. And he was absolutely roasted for it on the Fox Sports broadcast and on social media.
Don’t worry about hustling, Machado. It’s not like you’re playing for the NL pennant. #dodgers
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) October 13, 2018
Manny Machado hit the brakes harder than he hit the baseball.
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) October 13, 2018
That’s just a taste of the criticism thrown in Machado’s direction.
With two outs in the fourth inning and the game still scoreless, Machado hit a grounder that the Brewers’ Orlando Arcia fielded deep in the hole at shortstop. All that viewers saw initially was Arcia showing off great range to flag it down. When he took his time collecting himself before throwing though, it felt like he was taking too much time to possibly throw out Machado. Then we quickly realized what Arcia was seeing in front of him.
There was Machado, slowly jogging up the line like the game was being played on March 13 in Arizona, not Oct. 13 with the National League pennant on the line in Milwaukee.
What Machado lacked in urgency, baseball fans, writers, former MLB executives and broadcasters more than made up for it with an impassioned lack of appreciation for Machado’s effort. Fox Sports’ Joe Buck was still railing on Machado during the next half inning, while everyone else used social media as their outlet to vent.
I think I'll save my $200 million. pic.twitter.com/uPXvykiqaE
— Gary Marbry (@nuggetpalooza) October 13, 2018
If Machado is not hurt, his lack of hustle on that groundout is inexplicable during the regular season and inexcusable during the ALCS.
— David P. Samson (@DavidPSamson) October 13, 2018
It’s the NLCS, but you get the point. If you’re not going to hustle now, there better be a good reason for it. Otherwise, when exactly will the games be urgent enough to hustle out a ground ball?
It’s a fair question that Machado will no doubt have to address following the game.
Meanwhile, baseball fans were unrelenting (and creative) in their criticism.
Manny Machado in the NLCS pic.twitter.com/tCzbjkdui0
— Sarcastic Prick (@Richie59FIFTY) October 13, 2018
Compounding the lack of hustle was the fact Machado was swinging at a 3-0 pitch. With the count so heavily in his favor, you’re hoping for a more productive swing in that situation. What the Dodgers got instead was a very frustrating out.
As many have pointed out, that moment was not a great showcase for a player about to hit the open market looking for north of $300 million.
Manny Machado should really try sprinting when he hits the ball in the ss hole. teams are watching.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 13, 2018
Of course, as many more have noted, teams interested in Machado will not be deterred by his effort on this play.
“We were on the fence about signing Machado, but that one time he didn’t hustle in the NLDS was the deciding factor” zero GMs right now
— bee gardener_kat (@bgardnerfanclub) October 13, 2018
They’ll look closer at Machado’s seventh-inning single, which helped to key the Dodgers rally.
Machado only has six hits so far in the postseason, but each has come in an inning when the Dodgers have scored. That includes a pair of home runs during the NLDS. That shows the impact he can have on a lineup.
Was the lack of hustle a good look for Machado? Of course not.
Will it dent his value? Absolutely not.
Why? Because 26-year-old infielders with two Gold Gloves, nearly 200 career home runs and several clutch postseason hits don’t hit the open market very often.
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