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Yordano Ventura needs another, longer timeout

On Tuesday night, we were treated to yet another example of Yordano Ventura’s desire to start fights.

The fuse was lit in the second inning when Ventura threw a couple of fastballs up and in to Manny Machado, who responded with a stiff glare and some trash talk after he flew out. Then in the fifth inning and trailing 5-1, Ventura sent a fastball at 99 MPH — his fastest pitch of the night — right into Machado’s back.

A melee ensued. Machado immediately charged at Ventura, hit him with a right and then basically DDT’ed Ventura into the mound. It was ugly and it certainly could have been avoided.

But this is what Yordano Ventura does when he’s not striking batters out at a declining rate or issuing walks at a rising rate. A similar incident occurred last April when Ventura, once again on the losing side of things, decided to drill Brett Lawrie with a 99 MPH fastball.   

A week before that, Ventura got in Mike Trout’s face for … some reason. In his start directly following the Lawrie beaning, Ventura instigated a brawl with the White Sox after mouthing off to Adam Eaton because … I really don’t know why. It’s quite difficult to identify Ventura’s modus operandi all the time. He was tagged with a seven-game suspension for his role in that donnybrook, a ban that felt like a make-up call on MLB’s part after it only fined Ventura for throwing at Lawrie.

And now he has done it again to one of the biggest stars in the game. Already frustrated with the look of his box score, Ventura decided to take it out on Machado at ninety-freaking-nine miles per hour.

What’s to come of this? It’s tough to say. Baseball has sent a message in recent years with its penalties — or lack thereof — for beanball pitchers. Since the start of 2012, only two pitchers have been suspended more than six games for intentionally throwing at batters. That’s one fewer than the number of pitchers who have received such suspensions for using pine tar. The Diamondbacks’ Ian Kennedy set the recent high-water mark in 2013 when he was banned for 10 games after throwing at the heads of Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke.

Perhaps Ventura won’t get 10 games (I mean, he tried to hurt only one batter). But he should. He is now a repeat offender, choosing on multiple occasions to throw as hard as he can with the intention of inflicting pain on another baseball player. The fact that he did it to an MVP-level player this time should carry some weight as well. 

Ventura was compared to Pedro Martinez as he made his way through the minors for his delivery, slight build, eye-popping velocity and nasty offspeed stuff. He’s got another thing in common with Martinez now*. People romanticize how Pedro would pitch inside and intimidate hitters. Shortly following the brawl, I heard some TV broadcaster say, in relation to Ventura, at least Martinez never tried to hurt anyone (Hey, Gerald Williams! Hi there, Karim Garcia!).

That is ridiculous. This shouldn’t be dolled up “old school” baseball. This is dangerous and could be construed as criminal. Yordano Ventura can continue to jabber and piss off opponents and likely some of his teammates when he tries to get under a batter’s skin. The larger issue is the 25-year-old has hit a batter in consecutive years on purpose with a 99 MPH fastball. That really, really needs to be seen as more egregious than scuffing the ball with pine tar.

*Actually, an affection for the beanball should be considered the only thing Ventura and Martinez share as pitchers currently because Yordano has been one of the league’s worst on the bump this season and hasn’t come close to living up to the hype. 

A Lot Of Teams Didn’t Show Up On Tuesday

August 14, 2012 Leave a comment

A half-dozen teams were left with a whole lot of nothing on Tuesday

Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was an Olympics hangover. Maybe it was really good pitching. Maybe it was dumb luck.

Tonight, there were six shutouts around the league. That’s the largest number of goose eggs on one day since May 14 of last season. So here are some notes on each of the one-sided games.

Yankees 3, Rangers 0: Yankees beat writer Andrew Marchand said this during the second inning of Monday’s game. The Rangers haven’t scored since. Seriously, Texas? You get absolutely shut down by Derek Lowe, and then basically watch Hiroki Kuroda record the Yankees’ first CG-SHO with two or fewer hits allowed since 2006. That only means one thing for Wednesday:

Freddy Garcia is finally gonna get that perfect game he’s always wanted.

Reds 3, Mets 0: Cincy wins this one in with a walk-off home run from Jay Bruce after spending eight innings trying really hard not to win. They left 14 runners on base through that first eight. Mets starter Chris Young permitted 12 baserunners and gave up no runs in 5.2 innings. That’s the first 12-baserunner, no-run outing for any starter in fewer than six inning since 2010. It was the first for any Mets starter ever.

Mat Latos was strong again — seven innings, five hits no runs. He was pretty brutal in the first half of the season, but he now has a 1.83 ERA since June 18.

Dodgers 11, Pirates 0: The Dodgers’ most lopsided road shutout win in more than a year is the Pirates’ most lopsided home shutout loss in more than two years.

And I fear that the Pirates are turning into a pumpkin. They’ve lost five of six, are 5-8 this month and are suddenly six games behind the Reds. Oh, and they get Clayton Kershaw next. The Pirates are still in the lead for a wild card spot, but it’s just a one-game edge in front of the Cardinals, against whom they play a three-game set this weekend in St. Louis.

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