Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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This business is nothing new for Yordano Ventura

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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.

The Braves think they were robbed of a home run

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Last night the Braves lost in walkoff fashion after blowing a small lead. The lead could’ve been bigger, they think. That’s because in the eighth inning Freddie Freeman hit a ball to the wall and ended up with a triple that they believed should’ve been a home run.

Watch the play here. If the ball hits the fan’s glove first, it’s a homer. The top of that wall, however, is in play:

My view of it is that it’s a clear triple, not a homer. It looked like it clearly bounced off the wall and that the fan didn’t touch it. I think the umps got it right. Braves players and coaches, however, all thought after the game that it was the wrong call.

I dunno. When everything is going bad for you, at some point, you’ll try to grab on to anything.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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The Manny MachadoYordano Ventura fight was all about two young men paying tribute to the late Muhammad Ali. Watch as Ventura misses with his first punch, which Machado dodges and then quickly counters. That’s classic Ali right there. The taller guy with the better reach luring his opponent into over committing while relying on his ability to evade and then, bam, hitting him with the counter. To be fair, Ali never gave an opponent a DDT like Machado kinda gave Ventura, but RIP, Ali all the same.

The secondary takeaway was Sal Perez and the empathy we should all have for him. Poor Sal. You can almost hear his inner monologue during this thing: “[Sigh] Yordano. Here we go again. So young. So talented. But that temper, oy!” Watching the video, I feel like a super determined Perez could’ve subdued Machadao as he headed toward the mound. I feel, however, that in this case Perez was like that father who realizes, well, sometimes his son needs to learn things the hard way. I mean, he’s had many, many opportunities to learn things more easily. It just didn’t take.

I don’t expect Ventura to learn much during his inevitable suspension. He seemed to hit the bigs fully formed as a pissed-off guy. Machado, meanwhile, will probably get several days off himself due to charging the mound. Maybe he’ll use them more productively. Anyway, here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 3, Mets 1; Pirates 3, Mets 1: Both games of the double header were 3-1 Pirate wins. The Pirates had ten hits in each game. The Mets had five in one, four in the other. Neat.

Orioles 9, Royals 1: Come for the fight, stay for the continuing skid of the World Series champs. They’ve dropped six straight.

Tigers 3, Blue Jays 2: Ian Kinsler with a walkoff RBI single in the 10th. This after a two-run ninth inning rally in which he doubled in one run and scored on a subsequent Miguel Cabrera double. Kinsler is hitting .320/.371/.524 on the year and is on a 31-homer, 98 RBI pace. He’s hitting leadoff.

Reds 7, Cardinals 6: Another walkoff, via a Joey Votto homer, saving the Reds’ bullpen from even more ignominy after it blew a five-run lead. Again. Wait. What’s that? No, I stand corrected. There is still heaping helpings of ignominy for the Reds bullpen despite Votto’s homer.

Twins 6, Marlins 4: Another walkoff. This one featured Brian Dozier hitting a two-out, two-run home run in the 11th. Earlier Robbie Grossman hit a home run in the eighth to bring the Twins back from behind and force extras.

Padres 4, Braves 3: Yet another walkoff. Atlanta led 3-2 in the ninth but then Derek Norris tied the game with a leadoff home run and Wil Myers singled in the winning run

Dodgers 4, Rockies 3: Yet another walkoff, this a homer from Trayce Thompson. Also good news for the Dodgers: Jose Urias’ third start went better than his first two. He still only went four innings, requiring 86 pitches, but he only allowed one run and struck out seven.

Yankees 6, Angels 3: Carlos Beltran and Starlin Castro homered for the second consecutive game. Beltran is on a 42-homer pace. His OBP and average are down but he’s still got those old man hurtin’ bombs.

Phillies 3, Cubs 2: Ryan Howard hit a homer. I feel like he’s going to be DFA’d soon either way. Maybe let him go out with a nice memory?

 

Rangers 4, Astros 3: Someone ask Ken Giles if the Rangers are better than the Astros yet. Maybe it takes more than eight straight wins. Maybe it’s a best of 17 situation and Houston plans on rallying now.

Nationals 10, White Sox 5: Bryce Harper drove in three runs and Anthony Rendon homered as the Nats win their sixth of eight. I mentioned the Royals skidding, but the White Sox’ skid has been something to behold. They started out 23-10. Since then they’ve gone 6-19 and they’re sitting in fourth place, looking up at everyone except the lowly Twins. That talk of a North Side-South Side World Series seems like it was 100 years ago.

Brewers 5, Athletics 4Zach Davies took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, issued a one-out walk to Jed Lowrie, then watched Billy Butler drill a two-out, two-run home run to center field. Oh well. Milwaukee held on anyway.

 

Diamondbacks 5, Rays 0: Zack Greinke‘s early season struggles continue to be an ever-fading memory. Here he tossed a three-hit shutout, needing only 104 pitches to do it. He’s now 8-3 with a 3.84 ERA.

Mariners 7, Indians 1: A bad day at the office for Cody Anderson, who was lit up for six runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds. Nelson Cruz socked two homers, one off of Mr. Anderson. That came early but was, eventually, the sound of inevitability. The sound of his death. Goodbye, Mr. Anderson.

 

Red Sox 5, Giants 3: Not a walkoff, but late inning heroics all the same as Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run single in the 10th inning. Bogaerts drove in another run on a single earlier in the game.