LOS ANGELES (AP) — Manny Machado has stepped into trouble again.
Both benches cleared after the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ star shortstop clipped the back leg of Milwaukee first baseman Jesus Aguilar while running out his groundout Tuesday night in the 10th inning of Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.
Aguilar left his foot on the base for a moment after Machado was already out, and the star shortstop appeared to show his displeasure by bringing his left foot forward and kicking Aguilar on the back of the leg.
Aguilar wasn’t hurt, but he was angry. Dodgers first base coach George Lombard joined the discussion before players spilled onto the field from both benches and bullpens.
Nothing happened beyond a spirited argument, but the incident added to the list of Machado’s questionable decisions in baseball ethics.
Machado also caused controversy Monday in Game 3 of the NLCS with two hard slides into second base while shortstop Orlando Arcia attempted to turn double plays.
Machado wasn’t penalized in the second inning when he slid into second with his arm up while Arcia attempted to jump over him. Arcia said he didn’t have a problem with that slide.
But Machado got in trouble in the fourth inning with a very similar slide into Arcia, who made a wild throw after Machado clipped the shortstop’s knee with his hand. The Brewers challenged the slide, and they were awarded a double play on video review.
Just a few weeks before the 26-year-old Machado likely hits the open market as one of the most desirable free agents in baseball, the big-hitting shortstop has become the latest star to tread the line between fierce competitors and dirty players. The four-time All-Star already had drawn the ire of old-school baseball men from Jim Palmer to Eric Byrnes with his occasional lack of hustle, but he has shown plenty of hustle in each of his incidents in the NLCS.
Machado already attracted attention early in the 2017 season with a hard slide in Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, Machado got his spikes into Pedroia’s left ankle and knee as he slid over the base, and his Orioles had a testy relationship with the Red Sox for the rest of the season.
The Dodgers acquired Machado from Baltimore this season for their playoff push, and to replace injured shortstop Corey Seager. Machado had 37 homers and 107 RBIs in the regular season, and he batted .242 in the first eight games of the postseason.
After he got two hits in Game 3, Machado’s frustration at the plate also probably played a role in his mood in Game 4. His groundout dropped him to 0 for 5 as the Dodgers’ cleanup hitter.