How Matt Barnes could have avoided suspension

Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

Last game against the Orioles on Sunday and in the bottom of the eighth.

The hitter is Manny Machado, the player that put Dustin Pedroia on the disabled list with a clumsy late slide in game one of the series.

What ensued with Matt Barnes was pretty scary.

After several attempts to 'go inside' with Machado, Barnes let one sail that nearly clipped Machado in the head.

You be the judge:

Barnes is ejected from the game and Machado, to his credit, remained calm so that no bench clearing incident happened. When asked about the pitch, Barnes gave the politically correct response.

"All I know was I was trying to go up and in, trying to get some weak contact with [Adam] Jones on first. Unfortunately one got away from me, and like I said I would never intentionally throw at somebody’s head. That’s potentially life-changing and that’s unacceptable."

Did you notice in the replay that catcher Christian Vazquez was setup for the pitch to be outside?

MLB was quick to hand down a four-game suspension, which Barnes is appealing to be available to pitch with the Yankees series this week.

Outside the fact that Barnes took several shots at 'retribution' by trying to hit Machado, it's astounding that he failed to locate his fastball. He can paint the corners with it, yet he can't find the buttocks or ribs with it?

Instead of debating the merits of pitch control, instead of debating the right or wrong of these shenanigans, let's look at how the Red Sox could have avoided having Barnes suspended.

The Red Sox or Pedroia, had the chance to be really classy with this incident due to the fact that knuckleballer Steven Wright was to start the next game against the Orioles.

If Pedroia was serious about not holding it against Machado, if the whole thing was an accident, then this could have played out as follows.

Machado was hitting third, so in the first inning you have Wright center up a knuckleball at 62 MPH. Machado takes first and Pedroia yells down to him that he called for that 'retribution.'

No pitcher ejections, no bench clearing and it is a pretty classy event that you can be sure reaches ESPN highlights.

If you're John Farrell, manager of the Red Sox, do you sic Barnes on Machado or do you knuckleball him?

Post a comment or via twitter @erics_redsox with your thoughts.

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