Real or not? Red Sox crossed the line in throwing at Manny Machado

So this happened:

After the game, Manny Machado was just a tad bit upset:

Instead of talking about Chris Sale's dominant performance -- 11 strikeouts in eight innings in a 5-2 victory for the Red Sox -- or this bizarre triple play, we're talking again about this nonsense. Instead of baseball, we're talking about throwing at batters or throwing close to batters or the proper place to throw a pitch when you're sort of trying to throw at a batter. In his ribs? At his hip? Behind him? What the hell is the endgame here, anyway?

I don't blame Machado for his rant. Back on April 21, he slid into Dustin Pedroia, accidentally spiking him. The Red Sox were upset that Pedroia had to miss a couple games. On April 23, Eduardo Rodriguez tried three times to hit Machado. Later in the game, Matt Barnes threw a 97 mph fastball near Machado's head and received a suspension. As former Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, now an analyst on MLB Network said, "You get one shot." Rodriguez missed and Barnes missed; that was the Red Sox's shot.

Yet there Sale was, throwing a pitch behind Machado. Pedro Martinez, on the same show, said, "Chris Sale knew what to do." His point was that Sale wasn't trying to hurt Machado and threw a "professional" pitch. Of course, Martinez was known for throwing at guys in his day, as much for intimidation as for retaliation.

Even if Sale was just throwing a proverbial purpose pitch, that doesn't answer why it was needed. The Red Sox had already thrown at Machado four times. It's all dumb and ridiculous and embarrassing. Maybe the Red Sox were upset about Dylan Bundy hitting Mookie Betts on Monday? Maybe, though it's pretty clear that Bundy didn't do that on purpose, not with a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning. Prior to Monday's game, all parties said everything had been resolved.

Now? Who knows. "They're probably going to try to hit me again," Machado told MASN's Gary Thorne. "I'm just going to have to wear it and see what happens, and if I gotta take care of business on my own, then I might have to do something."

Sale, meanwhile, refused to explain his thinking.

"Whatever," he said when informed of Machado's rant. "Not losing any sleep."

Without an explanation, we're left to guess. Was it still in revenge for the slide? Revenge for hitting Betts? Sale just playing some Pedro-esque mind games with Machado? If that was the case, it didn't work, as Machado homered off him in the seventh inning.

All this looks even more moronic and out of touch against the backdrop of the racial slurs Adam Jones had to endure Monday. Both clubhouses had been talking about real-world issues and how to deal with hatred, and then we get this.

You're not going to eliminate baseball players' wanting to be tough guys. Certainly, the desire to protect your teammates is understandable. And while a guy such as Pedro made a living intimidating batters with the occasional beanball or high-and-tight fastball, I'm also reminded that Sandy Koufax won 27 games with a 1.73 ERA in 1966 and didn't hit a single batter all season.

This probably isn't the last we'll see of the Red Sox and Orioles throwing at each other. Heck, the Red Sox and Yankees spent most of the mid-2000s throwing at and fighting each other (well, the Red Sox did most of the "throwing at"). Maybe we should be happy that we didn't get many fights like the good old days. Let's hope this is the end of things, even though the Red Sox-Orioles rivalry appears to be here to stay.

Welcome back, Miggy: Miguel Cabrera returned from the DL and promptly homered in the third inning off Corey Kluber. It was his 450th career home run, and he passed Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero for 38th place on the all-time home run list. It was Cabrera's sixth career home run off Kluber, and the Tigers went on to a 5-2 victory behind Justin Verlander. Apparently, he wasn’t tipping his pitches in this game.

The two teams are now tied at 14-12, but the big news was Kluber leaving after three innings because of lower back discomfort. It was the second time that has happened this season. Certainly, it's something to pay attention to as the Indians rely on Kluber to chew up a lot of innings. Remember that Carlos Carrasco's career high is 183 innings and Danny Salazar's is 185. Those two have looked good, but Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin have been hit hard, and there isn’t much depth behind those five.

Astros rally to beat Rangers: The Astros trailed 5-0. They were down 5-3 in the eighth inning when Marwin Gonzalez did this:

The utility man, who started in left field, is earning more playing time, and his two-homer night gave him seven for the season. For the Rangers, it was another bullpen disaster, this one from Keone Kela, who hadn't allowed a run before this game. The Rangers hit five home runs in the losing effort, but it's kind of home-run-or-bust with this offense. Rougned Odor is down to .181, and Mike Napoli, who struck out four times, is hitting .155.

Matt Harvey struggles again: Harvey allowed eight hits and six runs in 5.1 innings in a 9-7 loss to the Braves. He generated just eight swing-and-misses in 100 pitches. I agree with this:

Harvey's swing-and-miss rate is 19 percent, down from 27 percent in 2015. The Braves entered the game with the second-most strikeouts in the NL, and Harvey registered just two. Maybe it was one of those rare games with great stuff and bad results, but in his past three outings, Harvey has five strikeouts in 16.2 innings. He isn't fooling a lot of hitters right now.

Quick thoughts ... Have to acknowledge Ervin Santana, who continues to roll. With six shutout innings, he improved to 5-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.66. The Twins also clubbed six home runs in their 9-1 win over the A's ... Kris Bryant left Tuesday's win over the Phillies with calf tightness but said there is a "300 percent" chance he'll play on Wednesday. ... Javier Baez went 4-for-4, homered for the second straight game and is suddenly hitting .269/.315/.507. ... I don't think Cody Bellinger is headed back to the minors. ... Aaron Judge is good. Mat Latos is not. ... Good job by the Diamondbacks' bullpen to slow down the Nationals, as Arizona's relievers tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Fernando Rodney got the save on what was a very good day for him:

Everybody will freak over Dusty Baker's letting Tanner Roark throw 125 pitches. The only pitcher to throw more last season was Matt Moore of the Giants, at 133, when he was chasing a no-hitter into the ninth inning. It was a 4-3 game when Roark came out of the sixth at 100 pitches, so this says a lot about how Baker feels about his bullpen right now.