Los Angeles' hopes that Manny Machado would help deliver the Dodgers' first World Series title since 1988 ended up falling way short.
Machado struggled against the Boston Red Sox in his first World Series, going 4-for-22. He was hitless in four at-bats in Game 5 on Sunday night, including falling awkwardly to one knee as he swung and missed on a slider by Chris Sale to end the Red Sox’s 5-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. It was Machado's third strikeout of the night.
The 26-year-old Machado — who was acquired from the Orioles on July 19 — can become a free agent this offseason and is expected to command a large contract. If he doesn't re-sign with the Dodgers, it ended up being a rental that didn't produce meaningful results.
“Obviously, it has been a great journey. The Dodgers welcomed me with open arms,” Machado said. “It has been a great couple months we had here and we'll see what happens.”
Machado's three home runs and 12 RBIs rank second among players in this year's postseason, but most of his production happened early.
He was 8-for-28 (.286 batting average) with three home runs and nine RBIs in the four-game NL Division Series against Atlanta and the first three games of the NL Championship Series against Milwaukee. But his production tailed off the rest of the way as he batted .184 (7-for-38) with three RBIs in the remaining nine games.
“We just didn't have enough. We were unable to get past that hump,” Machado said.
Machado's most memorable hit of the Fall Classic was notable for all the wrong reasons. During the sixth inning of Game 3, he had a little too much self-confidence when he apparently thought he hit a home run to left field. Instead, Machado admired what turned out to be a 368-foot single as it bounced off the wall. Had Machado run it out, it might have been a double.
In Saturday night's Game 4, Machado stepped on Steve Pearce's heel as he was running through first base. Pearce said Sunday that he didn't consider the play malicious.
Machado's baserunning was a frequent topic of conversation throughout the postseason. During the NLCS, he was criticized for not hustling during a groundout, kicking Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar near the ankle as he jogged out a groundout (which drew a $10,000 fine) and for a pair of hard slides into Orlando Arcia in Game 3 while the Milwaukee shortstop was attempting to turn double plays. The antics prompted Brewers star Christian Yelich to call Machado “a dirty player.”
This was the second straight year that the Dodgers made a trade in July that didn't yield the desired results. They acquired Yu Darvish from the Rangers last year. The right-hander won his starts in the first two rounds of the playoffs but was awful in his two World Series starts, allowing nine runs (eight earned) in 3 1/3 innings.
Darvish was the starter in last year's Game 7 against the Astros and he allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings in the Dodgers' 5-1 loss.
Darvish ended up signing with the Cubs.
Machado said he hasn't even started to consider his free-agent options.