Boston Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes made a decision to protect teammate Dustin Pedroia by throwing at the head of Baltimore Orioles star Manny Machado on Sunday. It’s going to cost him.
— Jerry Coleman (@sportswcoleman) April 24, 2017
It started on Friday when Machado took Pedroia out on a slide into second base. Leading 6-0 in the eighth inning on Sunday, Barnes got his apparent payback by throwing behind Machado. Both plays can be seen here.
If Barnes is looking for support, he shouldn’t look towards Pedroia. The Red Sox second baseman was spotted trying to clear the air with Pedroia on Sunday and after the game, made it clear that he was not happy with how everything unfolded.
“I just told him I didn’t have anything to do with that,” Pedroia said, per Jen McCaffrey of MassLive.com. “That’s not how you do that, man. I’m sorry to him and his team. If you’re going to protect guys, you do it right away. “
It’s hard to dispute baseball’s decision on Barnes. The only question is, did MLB do enough? The reality is that baseball’s famed “unwritten rule book” is archaic. But even by those standards, what Barnes did is not acceptable.
Generally speaking, bean balls are thrown somewhere between the back and backside of the target. It hurts enough to make the point but more often than not, doesn’t do any lasting damage. Throwing at the head is an entirely different issue though. If a ball travelling at that speed hits the wrong part of the head, it can be fatal.
The two teams play 14 more times during the 2017 season, leaving many more opportunities for beanball wars to break out. Before these teams face off again (a four-game series a Fenway, beginning on May 1), MLB needs to be sure that the issues between the two teams are settled.