Oct 29, 2023
Padres Daily: Manny Machado fights on
Good morning from St. Louis, It was a little more than two hours before yesterday’s game, and Manny Machado looked tired. Turns out, he had not had a cup of coffee yet. I told him I’d had six already.
Good morning from St. Louis,
It was a little more than two hours before yesterday’s game, and Manny Machado looked tired. Turns out, he had not had a cup of coffee yet.
I told him I’d had six already. (It was really just three, but all of them were infused with a shot of espresso.)
“Damn, no wonder you came in (expletive) hot,” he said as he walked toward the dining room in the visitors clubhouse.
Machado had not been in the mood to entertain queries about what is almost certainly the early demise of the Padres’ postseason hopes.
“Maybe at a different time, at the end of the year, it might be a different conversation,” he had finally said after several minutes of mostly not answering questions. “But right now we’ve got a chance. And until we’re out, we’re gonna keep fighting. I’m gonna keep fighting. And I gotta play better baseball. Ultimately, we haven’t gotten to where we need to, and God’s honest truth, I haven’t played to my capabilities. I haven’t been good. So, I mean, a lot of it is probably my fault. But we’re gonna keep fighting no matter what.”
And it seemed possible he had merely given in and said something of substance so he could walk away and get his coffee.
But then he went out and did keep fighting.
It didn’t go great for him or well at all for the Padres. You can read in my game story (here) about another loss that would be unfathomable if it hadn’t become the norm.
Machado was 1-for-5 and left five men on base. But he did fight.
He even fought a cooler after popping out in the seventh inning.
Coolers everywhere beware of Manny Machado pic.twitter.com/ATJsgeiFzI
He beat out a potential double play grounder so that the Padres’ first run scored. He sprinted down the line to try to beat out a dribbler that ended up rolling foul. He hustled up a double.
“He’s been playing hard,” manager Bob Melvin would say later. “He has. And he’s been playing in some pain.”
Machado is playing with a balky right elbow. And that is the injury we know about. It isn’t uncommon to see any number of his appendages wrapped in ice and Machado walking around the clubhouse after a game in a manner that isn’t caused just by tennis elbow.
This is neither to feed into nor argue against any notion about Machado’s usual effort. He is who he is — a guy who occasionally conserves his energy while starting more games than any other player at any position since the start of the 2015 season and compiling the ninth-highest fWAR in MLB in that time. That is even with his highly disappointing current campaign.
I also wrote (here) yesterday about Machado being among those complicit in what has essentially been the Padres’ final collapse over the past 20 games.
But it was noticeable and notable that Machado backed up his words yesterday.
I had asked him in the morning about his not displaying emotion on the field and his almost endless quotes about nothing surprising him and it just being baseball and blah blah blah. He had talked around the questions.
I revisited the topic postgame in light of the cooler beating and his other efforts during the game. He still wasn’t in a talkative mood. He said the dugout tantrum was “personal,” which meant he didn’t want to elaborate.
But he acknowledged of his emotion, “It comes out every once in a while. I’m trying to win. We’ve got 30 games left. So I’m leaving it all out there. It’s all I got. Gotta leave it out there.”
All right, that’s it for me.Just drove five hours from Milwaukee after my flight was canceled. (Good thing I had all that coffee and espresso.)
I guess we’ll talk tomorrow.