Against the Baltimore Orioles Friday night, Dustin Pedroia looked to do what he had done countless times in his career as a second baseman: turn a double play.
At the bottom of the eighth inning, Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo hit a weak ground ball to Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts threw the ball to Pedroia for the easy force-out at second, but before Pedroia could turn to fire the ball to first baseman Mitch Moreland, his legs went out from under him.
According to the replay, Orioles baserunner Manny Machado hit Pedroia in the back of the knee with his cleat, causing him to collapse and leave the game injured.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was displeased with the incident, claiming Machado violated the new slide rule that was adopted by the league in 2016. Designed to protect middle infielders, the rule prohibits a player from “changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.”
“To me, the rule failed tonight,” Farrell said after the game. “When you slide past the base and do not hold continual contact, that’s a violation of the rule.”
But Pedroia had other thoughts.
“I don’t even know what the rule is,” he told NESN in a postgame interview.
“I’ve turned the best double play in the major leagues for 11 years,” he continued. “I don’t need a f—— rule. Let’s be honest. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork. That’s it.”