Padres third baseman Manny Machado's bat placement on a popup near home plate in the sixth inning on Tuesday drew the ire of the D-backs’ broadcast crew.
Arizona catcher John Ryan Murphy was unable to secure the ball in foul territory, but Machado was called out for interference after nearly coming into contact with the backstop while running to first base. Machado also dropped his bat near Murphy’s feet, causing play-by-play announcer Steve Berthiaume to call the play “bush league.” Analyst Bob Brenly agreed.
“It’s such an unnecessary thing, to say the least” Brenly said. “Obviously, it could create a potential injury. You drop a bat next to a guy who’s looking up in the air trying to track a popup.
“Machado, one day, is gonna pull one of his hijinks on the wrong guy and he’s gonna get dropped in his tracks, and he’s gonna deserve it,” Brenly added. “Kicking first basemen in the leg, dropping bats near guys that are trying to track popups, it’s all such a bush league act.”
Brenly was referring to a moment in last year’s NLCS that saw Machado, then with the Dodgers, make contact with Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar’s foot on a groundout, causing benches to clear and later prompting Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich to say that it was “a dirty play by a dirty player.”
After Tuesday's game, umpire Bill Welke explained his reasoning for calling Machado out on interference.
"A batter has certain protections when he’s in the batters’ box when he’s the batter,” Welke said in a pool report. “The minute the batter makes contact with the ball, he’s no longer the batter, he’s the batter-runner. The batter-runner has to give way to a fielder making a play on a batted ball. … It doesn’t matter if it’s intentional or not. A runner always has to give way to a fielder making a play on a batted ball.”
Machado was unaware he had been ruled out until he noticed manager Andy Green had left the dugout to argue with Welke. Green was soon ejected from the game.
“I hit the fly ball, looked up, saw it, put my head down and went to go run,” Machado said. “I don’t even think I touched him. [Murphy] even said, ‘No.’”