MILWAUKEE -- Manny Machado was not interested in acknowledging Brewers fans or their boos in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park.But Machado heard them. And he heard the "Manny sucks!" chants. It is fair to wonder if they affected Machado in a 7-2 loss on Friday
MILWAUKEE -- Manny Machado was not interested in acknowledging Brewers fans or their boos in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park.
But Machado heard them. And he heard the "Manny sucks!" chants. It is fair to wonder if they affected Machado in a 7-2 loss on Friday night to Milwaukee, which forced tonight's decisive Game 7.
:: NLCS schedule and results ::
Machado, who became Milwaukee's postseason villain following a controversial collision with Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar in Game 4 at Dodger Stadium, went 0-for-4 on a night that the Dodgers' 2-3-4-5 hitters went a combined 1-for-15 with one walk and five strikeouts.
As the crowd erupted when Machado struck out in his first at-bat, he appeared to make a "louder" motion with his hands before entering the dugout.
"It was a tough loss for us today," said Machado, when asked about the hostile crowd. "We have to come back tomorrow and play better baseball."
But did the boos bother Machado? He entered the game hitting .316 (6-for-19) with one double, one home run, three RBIs and a .935 OPS in the first five games of the series. Machado struck out swinging with a runner on first and one out in the first inning, popped out to shortstop in the third, struck out swinging with runners on first and second and two outs to end the fifth and grounded out with one out in the eighth.
"We lost the game, you know?" Machado responded. "We didn't hit. We didn't execute. We've got to do a better job tomorrow. Tomorrow it's leave it on the line, leave everything on the field."
If there is any chance Machado was rattled, he would not admit it. He was asked several times about being booed and his reaction, but he never directly answered the question. But the boos were loud and they grew louder with each and every at-bat, reaching a crescendo in the eighth inning.
"That was loud," Aguilar said. "The fans, they did what they think they needed to do. They did it tonight. I think it [put] on a little pressure and that was good for us."
Machado dragged his left leg into Aguilar on a groundout in Game 4. It looked intentional, although Machado denied it. Afterward, Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich called Machado "dirty" and dropped a couple expletives, firing up Milwaukee fans who had their first opportunity to tell Machado how they felt.
"I can't speak for Manny, but sometimes I think that makes the game more fun," Los Angeles left fielder Chris Taylor said. "When the crowd is into it, you can kind of build off that."
"Boos don't bother me, boos don't bother him," Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said. "Fans don't bother me. I don't think they bother any of these guys. It just makes us more locked in. If it's me they're booing, it makes me locked in even more."
If Machado was locked in Friday, he did not have his best game. The Brewers' pitching probably deserves some credit for that.
So, Manny, one more time: How much would you personally love to silence Milwaukee fans and break their hearts with a big Game 7?
"I just want a 'W,' I just want a 'W.' That's all we want," Machado said. "Get them tomorrow. We've got one more game. We know we've got one of our best pitchers on the mound. I think we like our odds."
Todd Zolecki has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.