As best as can be told, Yordano Ventura threw at Manny Machado last night because Machado jawed at him a bit earlier in the game following some inside pitches. As far as provocation goes, that’s pretty light. As far as provocation of Yordano Ventura goes, however, it may as well have been a declaration of war. Ventura, you see, has a hilariously short fuse, historically speaking. The dude is, as the baseball men like to say, a first-class red ass.
Early last year Ventura got into it with Mike Trout, staring him down and later trying to get up in his face after Trout scored a run. According to Ventura’s view of the universe Trout totally had it coming, though, as he had the audacity to hit a single up the middle a few minutes earlier:
In Ventura’s very next start he hit Brett Lawrie. This one was a retaliation deal after Lawrie had slid hard into second in the previous day’s game. Fine, follow the unwritten rules and plunk a dude. It’s your duty, I guess. Except Ventura did it with a 99 m.p.h. heater, just as he did Machado last night and then decided that walking over to Lawrie and barking at him so much that Sal Perez had to intervene and hold Ventura back was the way to handle himself. Note: Lawrie took his plunking and was merely walking to first base:
Later that same month Venutra got into it with Adam Eaton of the White Sox, who had just hit a comebacker to Ventura, who retired him at first base. Ventura was again jawing — maybe he really takes it personally when someone hits the ball in his direction — and the benches again cleared:
Over at Yahoo today, Jeff Passan has a story about the combustible Ventura. Your mileage may vary on the politics of hitting guys, but Ventura’s teammates, manager and front office are all growing tired of his petulant and aggressive little act. It’d be one thing if he were living up to his potential. At the moment, however, he has a 5.32 ERA. His 2015 was a big step down from 2014 as well.
Throw a no-hitter on L.S.D. like Dock Ellis or dominate your opposition like Pedro Martinez and people will give you more leeway to start doing the do like those guys did. Do that stuff while you’re underachieving on a team in the middle of a six-game losing streak and you’re just a pain in the butt.