Photo: Matt Slocum (AP)

Spicy times in the wee hours! A lengthy and bizarre Game 4 ended in the 13th with, of course, a Manny Machado slide. That’s not the close call the Brewers are thinking about, though.

That came in the 10th, when Machado somewhat inexplicably kicked the ankle of first baseman Jesus Aguilar on his way by, which led to the two exchanging words, which led to the benches clearing.

It would be one thing if this were an isolated incident, but Machado had been—let’s charitably say, aggressive on the basepaths in this series. Just the night before, he had a pair of takeout slides, including this one bordering on the egregious:

For a guy who said just yesterday that “I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’” it appears Machado can make an effort when he chooses. It just so happens to be the sort of effort that could injure a guy.

Machado was asked about kicking Aguilar. His response:

“I was trying to get over him and hit his foot. If that’s dirty, that’s dirty. I don’t know, call it what you want.”

Advertisement

Okay: that’s dirty!

Travis Shaw, was it dirty?

“It’s a dirty play. He can say whatever he wants. It was dirty.”

Christian Yelich, was it dirty?

Advertisement

Aguilar said he and Machado “turned the page,” though he admitted that Milwaukee’s clubhouse was still seething. This feels like the type of thing that might get settled with a fastball up and in, if one of the remaining games gets out of hand. And that’s probably fine.

I do not have a take here! Or, if I do, it’s that takes like this one are idiotic. Machado is a dick, but he’s a really goddamned good baseball player, and he’s a dick in ways that are intended to help his team win. Neither this controversy nor Machado’s history of this sort of thing will or should stop him from getting huge money in free agency, and whatever team that signs him will be thankful to have done so. Anyway, baseball needs heels, and the NLCS has a doozy.