Ugh, here we go again.
Last night, the Kansas City Royals played the Baltimore Orioles in a baseball game that essentially served as the undercard for the latest antics of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura.
The action started in the second inning, when Ventura threw inside to Orioles star shortstop, Manny Machado. Machado did not take kindly to being brushed back, and had some choice words for Ventura following his at-bat.
Flash-forward to the fifth inning and Machado stepped to the plate. Ventura immediately uncorked a 99 mph fastball on the first pitch of the at-bat, and all hell broke loose:
Machado charging the mound on Ventura pic.twitter.com/zE1jmaBgxV
— Michael Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher) June 8, 2016
Now, Machado is by no means a saint, as he has flashed a temper in the early part of his career, but the real culprit in all of this is Ventura. Now get ready for a hot take; I would have done the same thing if I were Manny Machado.
Do you have any idea what it’s like to be hit by a pitch thrown that hard?
Spoiler alert, it’s not pleasant.
Baseball has a set of unspoken rules (which is whole other subject for another day), and sometimes brushbacks and intentionally hitting a batter is accepted; but this, this was something totally different.
Ventura knew what he was doing the instant he threw that pitch and he was ready to take on Machado as soon as he charged the mound.
Look, this isn’t hockey, where a fourth line defenseman serves as an enforcer and throws his weight around. Nor is this football, where an offense/defense lineman will get into a shoving match with other players.
This is a sport where throwing a very small and dense object at that speed can cause serious injury, and the worst part is, this is a regular thing with Ventura.
There is nothing wrong with being brash, having some swagger, and being intense, but Ventura is a clown. Straight up.
Take a look at some evidence from just last year alone.
Last April, Ventura got heated with Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. The benches cleared, but thankfully cooler heads prevailed. In his next start, Ventura intentionally hit Brett Lawrie of the Oakland A’s. In this case, you may be able to make the argument that Ventura was defending his teammate, Alcides Escobar, who Lawrie injured on a slide the prior day.
Ventura completed his personal boneheaded hat trick in his next start against the Chicago White Sox. Ventura talked some trash to Adam Eaton, and once again, the benches cleared and there were some pushing and shoving.
Ventura’s maturity must certainly come into question for sure, but here’s the kicker, Ventura isn’t even that good. He has an unsightly 5.32 ERA so far this season, and his ERA has climbed every season since he debuted. So not only is Ventura a headache, but he can’t even back up his smack talk.
Is this guy really worth all this trouble?
Adam Jones on Ventura: “I knew it was going 2 happen. The guy has electric stuff but between ears, there is a circuit board off balance."
— Steve Melewski (@masnSteve) June 8, 2016
Adam Jones clearly thinks there’s something off with Ventura, and perhaps the best thing the Royals could do right now is send him down to AAA so he can work on his maturity issues and grow up.