The day after Nationals reliever Jonathan Papelbon threw at Manny Machado twice in the same at-bat, inquiring minds want to know whether that unpleasantness will bleed over into the series finale between the Orioles and the Nats.
Manager Buck Showalter has fielded a number of questions from reporters over the past 18 hours about the likelihood that his team will retaliate for the second inside pitch that hit Machado on the shoulder and led to Papelbon's ejection from the game. He is always coy about that sort of thing, but I'm going to guess that there will be no renewal of hostilities today.
Why? Because Papelbon's behavior was so out of line that it was obvious that even his own teammates did not condone it.
From afar, Toronto Blue Jays ace David Price even noticed something about the way the Nats reacted when it appeared there might be a bench-clearing altercation after Machado headed slowly to first base.
"Haha wow Baltimore runs into field...Nationals stay at their positions...looked funny...I'm pretty sure I know what that means,'' Price tweeted Thursday morning.
Price didn't elaborate, but the implication was clear enough. He was saying that the Nationals did not have Papelbon's back, and there were indications in the Nats clubhouse afterward to indicate that he was probably right.
Nats star Bryce Harper, who had to wonder if he would spend Thursday with a target on his back, simply referred to the incident as "tired."
Machado, of course, swung back hard during his post-game interview session, claiming that Papelbon's purpose pitch was "coward stuff," but showed great restraint on the field by simply barking at him on the way to first base and staring him down in the dugout.
Showalter pointed out that the situation puts the Nationals in a tough spot because they don't know what the Orioles will do, but it's hard to imagine young Tyler Wilson drilling somebody in a game the Orioles need to win to keep their faint playoff hopes alive.
The Orioles have enough guys banged up right now and they don't have another day off this season, so they probably will live by the adage that revenge "is a dish that is best served cold."
"Retaliation?'' Showalter said. "You're not supposed to do that. The best retaliation would be to win another game. That's usually how it works."