Royals’ Yordano Ventura Plunks O’s Manny Machado, And Oh Boy Now It’s On

  • Rick Chandler

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An American League pitcher throwing at a hitter is the most cowardly move in sports — unless you count that pitcher claiming in the post-game interview that the pitch “just got away” from him.

The Royals’ Yordano Ventura is just such a gutless wonder, as in the bottom of the fifth he uncorked a 99-MPH fastball toward the Orioles’ Manny Machado, which hit him amidships — the ball glancing off his shoulder and striking him in the back. Machado then rushed the mound and landed a punch right in Ventura’s puss, before benches cleared and things got all fighty.

As pointless, asinine baseball fights go, this one was fairly spirited — although there’s more actual fight action in the stands of a Tool concert than in any baseball rumble.

Hopefully you understand how an AL pitcher throwing at an AL hitter is like chucking a handful of gravel at another kid and then running and hiding behind your Great Dane. It’s easy to be tough when there’s no chance of personal retaliation … like politicians who constantly vote to go to war when they avoided military service themselves. Ventura knows he won’t ever have to climb into the batter’s box for a dose of duck-the-horsehide, so why not play the schoolyard bully?

Machado barked at Ventura in the second inning when the former flied out, after enduring a couple of inside pitches during the at-bat. When the fifth-inning at-bat rolled around, Machado obviously had a plan. After being hit he immediately rushed forward, catching Ventura with a right and then pulling him down, before the bulk of both dugouts arrived to form a giant scrum.

Both Ventura and Machado were ejected. Royals’ reliever Chien-Ming Wang wasn’t about to hit anyone, so intent was he on grooving melons to Orioles hitters. ESPN:

In the first at-bat after Machado and Ventura were tossed, Baltimore cleanup hitter Mark Trumbo crushed a 3-1 sinker from Royals reliever Chien-Ming Wang over the center-field fence. On the very next pitch, Chris Davis sent another one out to center in the Orioles’ 9-1 win.

Following the game, Royals’ manager Ned Yost said that he had no idea if Ventura was throwing at Machado (loud buzzing from lie detector here) — but it’s clear to anyone with eyes that Yost is saddled with an immature, less-than-effective pitcher. Don’t be surprised if Machado is suspended over this, and Ventura is eventually traded.