Machado's been a monster at Fenway, but could Sunday mark his final game in Boston as an Oriole?

Manny Machado could be playing his final months in an Orioles uniform, but he’s doing so while putting together the best start of his career.

And in Boston – where fans still boo Machado as he rounds the bases after a home run, failing to forget the controversy he had with the Red Sox in 2017 – he has traditionally played well.


This weekend’s series at Fenway Park has featured two early American League MVP candidates in Machado and Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, with each player seemingly trying to outdo the other in every at-bat. While both players are among the league leaders in nearly every offensive category, Machado is the only one in the top three in all three Triple Crown categories. Betts is outside the top 10 in RBIs.

Sunday’s game could very well be Machado’s final game at Fenway Park in an Orioles uniform. After making two early-season trips there, the Orioles don’t return to Boston until Sept. 24-26, and depending on what the organization’s top decision-makers choose, Machado – who is eligible to test free agency at the end of the season — could be dealt to a contender to help the club restock for the future.

Last season, Machado was embroiled in a war of words with the Red Sox that began when he made a hard but legal slide into second that injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia in a game at Camden Yards. The Red Sox threw at Machado several times, including one time at Fenway in which hard-throwing lefty Chris Sale threw behind Machado, who followed with a postgame tirade on the Red Sox.

Later that series, Machado took a casual stroll around the bases after a home run, drawing the boos of the Fenway crowd. And even though it’s been a year since then, and Machado has long put the incident in the past, the Red Sox fans still boo him ardently – including during his home run Thursday night and when he called for time during his final at-bat on Saturday night.

More often, Machado has allowed his bat do the talking at Fenway. He enters Sunday’s game 8-for-24 with five extra-base hits (four doubles and a homer) and seven RBIs this year at Fenway Park while hitting safely in all six games there this season. Over his career, his 32 RBIs in 48 career games at Fenway are his most in any opposing ballpark, as are his 23 extra-base hits (15 doubles and eight homers).

“I don’t know. At some fields you’re going to hit better,” second baseman Jonathan Schoop said. “Some players like [certain] fields. At some fields, you don’t field good, but you come to Boston, maybe something clicks. That’s everybody. There are some places where you just feel good and feel that things are going to go your way.”

After playing a big role in ending the Orioles’ 13-game road losing streak with a three-hit night Friday – Machado hit two doubles and a crucial two-run single – he said there wasn’t anything special about Fenway Park.

“Just have a big night in general is always huge,” Machado said Friday. “Coming out here, I can’t remember the last time we won a game on the road, so to come out here and try to do whatever you can to put your team in the best situation is what I’m trying to do here. Everybody is trying to do the same thing. I think we’re tired of losing and we want to mix things up and put us in a different situation.”

Machado’s .347 average entering Sunday’s game is 64 points higher than his career average. Last year, it took until June 20 to reach the 14-homer mark, and he didn’t record his 42nd RBI until July 7. After a slow start to the season, Machado hit .303 and posted an .864 OPS in his final 76 games.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him in some good stretches too,” Schoop said. “Last year, in the second half it was a good stretch. He did really good. But this is fun to see him, fun to watch it and [every] time he steps in there, I think he’s going to hit the ball hard somewhere. He’s hitting the ball hard but he’s finding the hole, too. That’s what’s good about it. … I’ve played with him since the minor leagues. I know what he can do. It’s fun to watch when he’s up. He’s the best hitter in the game.”

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