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.
Safe to say Manny Machado and Yordano Ventura won't be friends anytime soon…
Both players have been ejected.https://t.co/6wEKXlUXWr
— 120 Sports (@120Sports) June 8, 2016
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.