If you haven’t noticed, the San Diego Padres postseason run has Manny Machado energized at a level we haven’t seen before from the star third baseman. Playing in the National League Division Series against his former Los Angeles Dodgers teammates, Machado has been intense on the field.
Look no further than this moment from Game 2: With the Padres trailing 4-1 Wednesday night, hoping to not fall in an 0-2 series hole, Machado hit a laser home run off Clayton Kershaw in the sixth inning. He punctuated it not with a bat flip, but with an emphatic bat throw back toward his dugout. If you listen closely, you might hear a word that shouldn’t be on network TV too.
Machado’s energy proved contagious because Eric Hosmer followed with another solo homer that put the game much more within reach at 4-3.
If you like Jose Bautista’s famous bat flip, you love this. Same postseason energy. If you hate it, well, yeah — plenty of traditional baseball fans will.
Machado has a reputation as a troublemaker (that is only partially deserved) but realize what this was. This wasn’t Machado showing up a pitcher. This was Machado trying to pump up his teammates. This was Machado being a leader. And it worked.
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