Well, that escalated quickly…
Last night Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura continued his history of throwing at, hitting, and otherwise muckraking and causing benches clearing brawls by hitting Manny Machado in the back with a 99 MPH fastball. This was after throwing at him twice in the 2nd inning (causing Manny to yell some choice words at him after he hit a fly out).
This wasn’t the first altercation between Machado and Ventura. Ventura hit Machado (and Chris Davis) in September of 2015 (I have to think that Davis also being hit by Ventura had something to do with him entering the melee like a wayward rocket launched from the dugout once the fracas started).
Now, Machado is no stranger to making stupid decisions on the field, but in this case I cannot blame him for charging the mound. After throwing at him twice & hitting him the 3rd time I don’t know of anyone other than maybe Gandhi, MLK, and Jesus that would be able to NOT charge the mound. Yes, it is going to hurt to lose Machado to the inevitable suspension that is forthcoming after this (however, if Ventura doesn’t get at least the equivalent of games that Manny does – as a starting pitcher if he gets 5 games he only misses 1 – then Joe Torre needs to get a boot to the head) and that pain is worsened because JJ Hardy is not coming back any time soon, but even if you ignore the unwritten rules of baseball Machado had to defend himself here. Also, watching the video of the altercation a few times, I think Manny tried to give Salvador Perez a chance to stop him by doing a couple of hop steps before picking up the pace, but that also could have been because after taking a 99 MPH fastball to the spine he needed a moment to get the feeling back in his legs before he could go after him.
The biggest thing is that the clubhouse has Manny’s back. Team leader Adam Jones had more than a few things to say about the incident, but I will leave you with what I think was the choicest cut:
“I’ve got Manny’s fine and the rest is history. Manny is not at fault for nothing. You get hit with 95 or 98 (mph) and see what you do.”