The KC Royals are wallowing after volatile pitcher Yordano Ventura pegged Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado with a 99-mph fastball Tuesday night. The Royals ended up losing 9-1.
Dear Diary, it’s been four days since I last weighed in. Just a week ago, the Kansas City Royals were the hottest team in baseball, winning six-straight to climb back to the top of the American League Central. Since then, Kansas City has lost its last six games. Even worse, the KC Royals have been outscored 38-8 in that stretch. Four of those runs came in the 5-4 loss to Cleveland that jump-started this skid.
So this was supposed to be a story about trends: how it’s difficult to read into trends with the KC Royals because they tend to be red hot or ice cold. The previous 15 or 30 games give little to no indication what the team will do over the next 15 games.
Then Yordano Ventura threw a 99-mile an hour fastball into Manny Machado’s ribs and the ensuing brawl darkened the shadow that has been hanging over the Kansas City Royals.
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My take on this is simple: I can be a fan of Ventura, and the KC Royals, and still admit Ventura was in the wrong. Unfortunately, it’s not his first incident and that’s what makes this easy.
Last year, Ventura riled up Mike Trout, one of the most pristine and loved players in the game. He was also involved in the skirmish with the Athletics (that one was expected), and got the benches cleared against Chicago. The Chicago incident netted Ventura a seven-game suspension.
Of those incidents, the most questionable was Yordano Ventura’s tiff with Mike Trout. Trout had just scored a run against Ventura to make the score 7-2 after the two exchanged words when Trout singled. Ventura said something to Trout after he crossed home plate (Ventura was backing up a throw home on the play) to start a bench clearing brawl.
Against the A’s, Brett Lawrie started the trouble by spiking Alcides Escobar at a play at second base. In that case, Ventura was protecting a teammate. The White Sox clearly were throwing at Kansas City Royals hitters early in the season to establish they weren’t afraid of the defending AL champs.
Next: Ventura Isn't The Only One At Fault