Former Oriole Manny Machado swinging hot bat in playoffs, but still drawing wrong kind of attention

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Manny Machado is going full Manny Machado for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the postseason, and as is often the case, the bad is getting more attention than the good.

The 26-year-old infielder, who the Orioles traded to the Dodgers on July 18, had a pair of home runs and a double to account for all three of his hits and drive in six crucial runs in Los Angeles’ National League Division Series win over the Atlanta Braves. He's followed that up by tying for the team lead with five hits, including a home run and double, in the NL Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

But he's also drawn criticism for not running out a ground ball in Game 2, and for a pair of slides to break up double plays in Game 3 — the second of which ultimately created a double play as it was judged to have been interference.

It's nothing new for Machado, who spent most of his time with the Orioles being their best player but having the little things called out. Orioles legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer criticized Machado this time, too.

Machado’s last hustle controversy with the Orioles came in June. He took so long to get up the base line on a double-play ball against the Seattle Mariners that shortstop Jean Segura double-clutched and almost didn't throw because Segura didn't even see Machado coming up the line when trying to make the turn.

Problems like that have come up pretty often with Machado, with there also being a history of larger controversies. In April 2017, Machado created a stir when his high slide into Dustin Pedroia aggravated the Boston Red Sox second baseman’s previous knee injury. In June 2016, Machado charged the mound against late Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura. In 2014, Machado had a back-and-forth with then-Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson that included a hard tag by Donaldson and a bat-throwing incident by Machado.

When the hustle problem came up in Baltimore, former manager Buck Showalter would refer to it as "bad presentation" and say Machado knew not to do it.

As Machado enters the free-agent market this fall, he'll hope the focus is on the rest of his talents instead of things like this.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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