- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
Each time the benches have emptied in one of Kansas City’s many bench-clearing incidents this year, somebody on the Royals, whether it be Salvador Perez or Mike Moustakas, has grabbed Yordano Ventura and pulled him off to the side, as if to shield him from the scrum. Which is smart, because the thin-framed Ventura might weigh about 175 pounds, and if one of the many opposing players who wanted to get to him dog-piled him onto his shoulder, Ventura’s career as a high-end major league pitcher would end in an instant.
Lorenzo Cain started his baseball career relatively late and has had to work his way through so many injuries in his journey, and now, in 2015, he has finally blossomed into the sort of player who can make tens of millions of dollars and accomplish a lot. But each time Cain is targeted in these retaliation wars, the chances of him sustaining a lasting, serious injury increase.
The same could be said for Moustakas, who very nearly suffered a direct missile to his jaw in Thursday’s game, or Eric Hosmer, or Perez. Every time the benches empty, every time a batter is targeted with a fastball, it’s as if a baseball version of Russian Roulette plays out. Play it out enough times and somebody is going to get seriously hurt.
This is why the Royals’ players and staff need to have some honest conversations Friday about what happened Thursday night with the White Sox -- you can see it here, if you haven’t before -- and what happened repeatedly with Oakland last weekend, what happened with the Angels earlier in the season, and ask themselves
The Royals keep getting into hit-by-pitch battles and tussles, which could be costly considering they're a good team.