Found September 24, 2013 on Fox Sports Kansas City:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Virtually lost in the drama of yet another did-you-see-that victory in Seattle on Monday night was a dominating performance by rookie right-hander Yordano Ventura in just his second major league start. Long before Gold Glove left fielder Alex Gordon rifled down the potential winning run at the plate in the 10th inning, and long before Sal Perez delivered in the clutch again with an RBI double in the 12th, and long before closer Greg Holland high-wired the save after walking the first two hitters, Ventura showed what he can do when he has command of his fastball. And, oh my, Royals fans and club officials must have gotten goose bumps watching Ventura simply overmatch a major league team. Ventura, with an easy and fluid motion, pounded the strike zone early on, striking out the side in the first inning. FOX Sports Kansas City broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre reported that Ventura's fastball was hovering in the 95-98-mph range, perhaps just a shade lower than the 99-101-mph range he showed last week in his debut. The reduced velocity may be a signal of what Ventura can do when he is calm and relaxed and not overthrowing. Again, Royals officials must be grinning. Ventura absolutely breezed through the first five innings, allowing only a ground-ball single to Raul Ibanez and a walk on a borderline 3-2 pitch to Nick Franklin. The Mariners looked completely bewildered. Ventura struck out six, including Mike Zunino in the fifth when Ventura reached back and blew a 100-mph fastball right past him. In the sixth, Ventura continued to breeze, getting the first two hitters on routine fly balls. It looked like Ventura would easily register his first quality start, and perhaps even cruise into the seventh or eighth inning as his pitch count was only in the 60s at that point. Then, somewhat like he did in his debut, Ventura lost his command briefly. He walked Brad Miller on a 3-2 pitch. Then, out of nowhere, Ventura started overthrowing. With Abraham Almonte up, Ventura unleashed a fastball that never touched the mitt of Perez and sailed to the backstop. Miller took second. Ventura again overthrew a fastball that straightened out, and Almonte sent a sharp one-hopper that shortstop Alcides Escobar knocked down. But the ball trickled into the outfield and Miller scored. Kyle Seager, the next hitter, drew another walk on a 3-2 pitch and that was enough for manager Ned Yost, who called on Will Smith. Ventura left with the lead for the second straight time, and once again the bullpen could not hold it for him. But Ventura not getting the win is a minor side note. The bigger story is that Ventura is proving he belongs in the rotation next season, and he is proving he could be a major weapon as well. With more experience, it is clear that Ventura can be the type of dominating, home-grown product that Dayton Moore and his staff have been coveting. And Ventura's emergence couldn't have come at a better time. The Royals, whether they pull off the Hail Mary and sneak into the playoffs or not, have some major decisions regarding the rotation next season. It's no secret that the strength of this team has been its pitching, and it all starts with the rotation. But whether Moore can bring back another solid rotation with the budget he will be handed is the big question. Beyond James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie, there are no locks for the 2014 rotation. Ervin Santana is a pending free agent who could command 15-20 million a year, perhaps out of the Royals' financial reach. Left-hander Bruce Chen is also a free agent after the season. Wade Davis has proven again -- as his former team, Tampa Bay, found out -- that he is more effective out of the bullpen than as a starter. And Danny Duffy, who pitched well at times, is still an unknown coming off Tommy John surgery. Being able to count on Ventura for one of the rotation spots would be huge for Moore, who has to be beaming after what he's seen in two starts from the rookie. Ventura will get one more start this weekend in Chicago, and one more chance to all but cement his spot in the 2014 rotation. That could go a long way in setting up the Royals for another playoff chase in 2014. You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Ventura continues to impress; makes strong case for 2014 rotation

John Viril— For the second straight game, rookie starting pitcher Yordano Ventura took the mound in a must-win game for the Kansas City Royals. For the second straight time, Ventura has delivered a strong start. Ventura’s fastball has blown away major-league hitters. The 22-year-old Ventura has 11.1 IP in two starts, with 9 strikeouts while allowing only 7 hits and 2 runs. More...

Preview: Royals have a lot riding on second start of rookie Yordano Ventura

With their wild-card hopes running thin, the Kansas City Royals have a very small margin of error entering the season's final week.That would seem to put a lot of pressure on rookie starter Yordano Ventura, but if his debut was any indication, he could be just fine on the mound against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on Monday night.The Royals (82-73) are 3 12 games back...

Justin Maxwell’s blast helps keep Royals’ playoff hopes alive

When Justin Maxwell walked up to the plate in the 10th inning of Sunday’s game against the Rangers, anyone watching could sense that it was a big moment. Whether you were one of the thousands and Kauffman who rose to your feet or whether you were glued to the television, you could sense the enormity of the situation. The score was tied 0-0 in the tenth inning with the bases loaded...

Preview: Chen takes hill as Royals' playoff push continues

Back-to-back extra-inning victories have aided the Kansas City Royals' playoff push. The visiting Royals can record their highest win total in 20 years Tuesday night when they send Bruce Chen to the mound to face the Seattle Mariners. Kansas City (83-73) will finish with a winning record for the first time in 10 years and can win 84 games for the first time since 1993. Making...

Royals G.M. Dayton Moore says he wants to retain manager Ned Yost

While negotiations remain on the horizon Royals general manager Dayton Moore left no doubt Wednesday afternoon that he wants to retain Ned Yost as the club’s manager. “Ned and I made an advance decision a month or so ago that anything we would discuss would be after the season and we’ve held to that” Moore said. “But Ned has done a terrific job and I definitely want...

Recap: Perez, Gordon lift Royals over Mariners 6-5 in 12

SEATTLE -- Alex Gordon threw out a runner at the plate in extra innings and scored on Salvador Perez's two-out double in the 12th to lift the Kansas City Royals over the Seattle Mariners 6-5 on Monday night. Kansas City moved within three games of idle Cleveland for the second AL wild card with six remaining. Texas is a game behind the Indians. Gordon saved the Royals in the...

Where the Royals are Baseball’s Fourth-Best Team

It was a dramatic one Sunday in Kansas City. The Royals played the Rangers in a late-season matchup of wild-card hopefuls, and the game was scoreless going into the bottom of the tenth when the Royals loaded the bases with none out. Then, after Mike Moustakas hit, there was one out. Then, after George Kottaras hit, there were two out. Up came Justin Maxwell, and the count ran full...

Perez, Gordon lift Royals over Mariners 6-5 in 12

Alex Gordon threw out a runner at the plate in extra innings and scored on Salvador Perez's two-out double in the 12th to lift the Kansas City Royals over the Seattle Mariners 6-5 on Monday night. Kansas City moved within three games of idle Cleveland for the second AL wild card with six remaining. Texas is a game behind the Indians. Gordon saved the Royals in the 10th inning...

Preview: Santana takes the mound in the finale of a three-game set in Seattle

When the Kansas City Royals take the field Wednesday night, they could be playing to stay in the playoff race. The visiting Royals will try to put an anemic offensive effort behind them as they face Seattle Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma for the first time in the finale of a three-game set. Kansas City (83-74) managed five hits Tuesday in a 4-0 loss, picking an inopportune time...

2013 Royals have won more than games -- they won back the heart of a city

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- First, a quick story. It was a Saturday in late April, sun-kissed and bright blue, a golden reprieve after a winter that had hung around like a bad penny, refusing to take the hint. And yet the little bar was packed, and the closer you got to a television, the more packed it got. It looked like a college football or NFL crowd, with fans huddled tightly to their...

Here's to you, Royals fans -- you've had quite a year, too

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Five observations on current state of the Royals. SALUTE TO FANS Don't be fooled by the final Royals attendance figures that showed, on average, about 100 fewer people attended games this season than in 2012, when the team wasn't even close to a playoff chase. There has been way more interest in the Royals this season, and all you have to do is look...

Royals survive marathon in Seattle with 6-5 victory in 12 innings

Cross Dylan Thomas with the national pastime and this is what you get: The Royals on a Monday night in front of a sparse crowd at Safeco Field absolutely raging at the dying of the light. We all know the math. Postseason remains a slim possibility for the Royals but they’re clinging to it for all they’re worth after a remarkable 6-5 victory over the Seattle Mariners in 12 innings...

Mariners lose in extras again, 6-5 to Royals in 12

Royals 6, Mariners 5, 12 innings. With AP Photos. Another extra-inning loss left the Seattle Mariners with a familiar feeling. Alex Gordon threw out a runner at the plate in the 10th and scored on Salvador Perez's two-out double in the 12th to lift the Kansas City Royals over Seattle 6-5 on Monday night. With their 21st extra-inning game, the Mariners matched the 1982 team...

Royals-Mariners Preview

With their wild-card hopes running thin, the Kansas City Royals have a very small margin of error entering the season's final week. That would seem to put a lot of pressure on rookie starter Yordana Ventura, but if his debut was any indication, he could be just fine on the mound against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on Monday night. The Royals (82-73) are 3 1/2 games...
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.