The Miami Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton suffered first. The 24-year-old outfielder was hit in the face by a fierce Mike Fiers pitch in the fifth inning of the Marlins' clash with the Milwaukee Brewers. The hit was so fierce, it drew a collective groan from the home fans.
Stanton, who is one of the leading candidates for the MVP title this season as well as the face of the Marlins' franchise, immediately slumped to the ground. Medical staff of both the teams tended him before he was taken off the field on a stretcher and rushed to the hospital.
According to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, Stanton "suffered a facial laceration requiring stitches, multiple facial fractures and dental damage."
Just 10 minutes later, a similar incident occurred in the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees' designated hitter Chase Headley took a fastball to the face from Rays’ reliever Jake McGee.
The ball hit Headley in the jaw and although there was bleeding he didn't lose consciousness like Stanton. He even managed to leave the field by himself but didn't play again in the game.
Baseball is usually rather safe and graphic injuries like these are a very rare occurrence. However, two aspects of the game – fastballs and line drives – do sometimes results in incidences like above.
In the 2013 season, an average fastball's speed was estimated at 92.0 mph but that has gone up over the years due to MLB pitchers' collective focus on velocity rather than movement.
Still, head injuries from fastballs aren't as frequent as they used to be since 1983, when the MLB made protective helmets mandatory for batters. However, one-off (or two-off in this case) incidents still do happen. Perhaps, MLB should opt for even safer helmets like the ones they use across the pond in cricket.
Or maybe not – because those things are pretty ugly.
The only player to have ever died by a pitch thrown in the Major League was Ray Chapman, who was hit by Yankees pitcher Carl Mays in 1920.