By Danny Picard
BOSTON — I get it. Dustin Pedroia is going to receive the benefit of the doubt in Boston.
He’s an All-Star second baseman, a career .300 hitter, a Gold Glove defender, a dirt dog in every sense of the phrase, and a two-time World Series champion. If you’re a Red Sox fan and you root against Pedroia on the field, there’s something wrong with you.
But that doesn’t mean he’s always right. And on Sunday in Baltimore, he was wrong to throw his teammate — reliever Matt Barnes — under the bus.
Barnes threw a pitch over the head of Manny Machado in the eighth inning, which was retaliation for Machado spiking Pedroia while sliding into second base two games prior, on Friday night. Pedroia left that game injured and missed the final two games of the series.
The pitch from Barnes was a fastball that clocked in at 90 mph on the NESN pitch zone. His fastball is usually somewhere around 98 mph. Regardless of velocity, head-hunting is a major no-no, especially when it’s used as retaliation, which it was.
Barnes got ejected, and said after the game that he never meant to target the head. He never said he didn’t try to hit him; he just apologized for the location of the intended message-sender.
Manager John Farrell defended his guy, saying that it was a pitch that got away from him. But Pedroia did the exact opposite. He threw Barnes under the bus.