By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — For Manny Machado, the best thing he could have done to the Red Sox in the last four games was to make them pay on the scoreboard. He certainly did that on Thursday night.
While the Orioles only managed a split of the four-game series at Fenway Park, Machado left a serious mark with his bat as he blasted three massive home runs while driving in six. He earned his place as Red Sox fans’ new favorite villain when he launched into a profane rant against the organization on Tuesday night, but he really cemented his place when he launched his three bombs – and took his time trotting around the bases in the process.
No bomb was bigger than the one Machado hit on Thursday night off Red Sox spot starter Kyle Kendrick. The third baseman took a 92-mph fastball that tailed back over the plate and absolutely obliterated it completely out of Fenway Park.
MLB StatCast estimated the home run’s distance at 466 feet with an exit velocity of 116 mph. He sauntered around the bases in about 30 seconds, which has become commonplace for Machado when he launches missiles in Boston.
It could be interpreted as a dink move to trot so slowly after a homer off of Kendrick of all people, who is barely a major-league pitcher. Machado has been no stranger to trouble throughout his young career, and he kind of asks for it when he does stuff like that.
But nonetheless, if you don’t want Machado showing you up, don’t give up 466-foot bombs. Baseball is better off with villains than without them. He earned his slow trot when he homered off Chris Sale on Tuesday night.
Machado even said the right things when he spoke after Thursday’s game.
“We got the split,” said Machado, via MLB.com. “We came back and battled the last four games. We beat a great team two times out of four, so it’s a great day. Now we get to go home and continue to do business and handling what we need to do.”
Machado may be a hothead who lost his cool in his rant earlier this week, but he’s still one of the game’s most dangerous hitters and most dynamic talents. If Red Sox fans hate him, it’s because of his talent as much as his attitude. He got some semblance of revenge over the course of the series through his sheer talent.
Though the Orioles only managed to split the series, the Red Sox are still just 4-5 against them this season. If the Red Sox want to get on the right side of .500 against their new rival from here on out, keeping Machado off the bases would be a good start.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.