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Dodgers: Does Manny Machado’s Lack of ‘Hustle’ Bother You?

In the fourth-inning of game two of the NLCS, Manny Machado hit a ground ball to shortstop. The fielder came up with it cleanly, and then fired to first to retire a softly-trotting Machado.

Joe Buck quickly remarked “Machado’s not running… Machado didn’t hustle,” in an almost surprising tone. In a scoreless game – and in one of the biggest games of the Dodgers’ season – it seemed like such an attribute would be table stakes. In a sporting event, especially the game of baseball; there is much that cannot be controlled. However, effort and ‘hustle’ are always the thing that can be controlled by an individual.

For example, take a guy like Cody Bellinger. All season long in the same instance, Bellinger has ran hard on ground balls on the infield. In a dozen instances, he’s beaten the throw for an infield single. Another dozen times, he’s made it within a blink for a bang-bang play. Dodgers fans have taken notice of Bellinger’s hard-playing style.

Still, the lack of effort from Machado is something that made me curious. This is not a new issue – and despite the big swings he’s had – I wondered if other Dodgers fans cared like I do.

In general, fans are not okay with Machado’s lack of hustle. In a poll that garnered over 4,500 votes at the time of this post, 63 percent of those polled said they are not okay with Machado’s lackadaisical style.

Furthermore, let’s look at how the rest of the baseball world perceived this with the Dodgers on the national stage.

Media Reacts

 

Dodgers Nation Reacts

Final Word

If you didn’t see the play live, you can see it here at the top of the story. Now, one must wonder if this will cost Machado in his off-season free agency. Speculation exists that other teams are taking notice, and they do care. As someone who attempts to look at this reasonably, I just don’t want the lack of hustle to cost the Dodgers in a big spot. On sacred ground like the NLCS, there is no important time to leave it all on the field. This is the time of year that defines legacies and careers. Moreover, if Machado runs out that ball at 100 percent, he probably beats the throw. At the same time – I don’t expect a guy to run his hardest on an infield pop-up. There is a careful line to be walked in terms of playing hard, and I feel most professionals in baseball know when to go hard and when to let off the gas. As I have noted, I think more can be asked of Machado; especially for the last ten or so games. Still, he may never play for a ring again in his career as he learned during his time in Baltimore. It’s time to dial it up. What do you think?

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

12 Comments

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  1. It wasn’t the first time. On long flies I’ve seen him watching from the batters box, at least twice the balls were in play, then he started running. Inexcusable.

  2. Hustle is a requirement of the job. The defense makes mistakes. Hustle allows you to take advantage when they do.

  3. I cannot believe the non-sense being voiced about Machado because of an in-field guaranteed ground-out. Machado is a professional baseball player. Yes, we all know he is well compensated just as any other Dodger team member, but he does know better than us when the opposing team has his number for that play. Of course there are possibilities of opposing team errors and so-on but you have to let him make the on-field call about his own hit. If anyone is to judge Machado, it’s the Dodgers manager (Roberts) and he alone. Simple as that. If you Dodger folks want to express your concerns, maybe authoring a communique to FOX about Joe Buck who started this fiasco and kept on repeating the issue during the FOX airing. Joe Buck is obviously non-objective and enjoys censoring the Dodgers more that than Brewers. (listen to him for heavens-sake).

    • Roberts reportedly spoke with Machado about lack of hustle. IMO a player busting it on the base paths puts extra pressure on defense knowing that any hesitation can result in an extra base runner and extra pressure will increase probability of errors. If Chase Utley at age 39 can give 100% on the base paths there is zero excuse for 26 year old Machado to dog-it.

    • No player can predict if the throw might pull the first baseman off the bag, if the first baseman might drop it, etc. To be in position to win the play, the player needs to hustle. Manny didn’t do that—not once but twice. There’s no excuse. I hope Roberts had a nice chat with to get his ass in gear.

    • He’s a great player! This isn’t nonsense, u run to put pressure on the opponent to make the play. It disrespectful to the team and the game when your teammate takes the second baseman out and he’s jogging down the line. This isn’t new, he’s been doing it since they got him!

  4. Manny loves Manny period.
    A real professional puts in the work, all the time.
    I keep getting that rental feeling.

  5. Play with conviction, or don’t play at all. Manny’s flub at SS in the NLDS, causing the bases to be loaded, Hill to be removed from the mound, and a reliever to be called in to save the day, could have easily happened to an opposing superstar SS, and thus the need to Hustle, regardless! The runner had no idea that Manny was going to have a blunder, and thus he bolted it safely to First. Anything can go wrong…even at SS. To assume anything else would be foolish.

  6. Machado is typical of players of his ilk – like Harper, for example – gifted physically but lazy. He knows someone will overpay him in the offseason no matter what he does with the Dodgers, so he doesn’t give 100% effort.

    P.S. I can’t stand listening to Joe Buck.

  7. Halloween came early. I just a bunch of guys dressed as a baseball team at Dodger Stadium.
    Look, guys like Machado make as much each at bat, as some take home in a year. Yes, it’s bothersome.
    “You place like you practice.”
    Look at Spring Trainibg, and see who practiced and see who rested.

  8. I know it’s a minority opinion, but I don’t think Manny’s lack of effort to first-base should be considered a big. Manny has probably played more games the last five years than any other play in baseball. He’s just protecting himself against a hamstring injury, which usually happens when players are running to first base. Who wants to lose a Manny Machado for weeks, because he ran hard on a ground ball to SS? Remember, it was his base-running that helped him score the winning run last night.

    Joe Buck keeps telling us how great Craig Counsell is–hardly mentions Roberts–but what a stupid decision it was to pitch to Bellinger with Grandal (who is in a terrible funk) on deck and first base open. Nary a word of criticism from Buck.

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