The Kansas City Royals brought home five runs last night and Alcides Escobar provided his usual stellar defense, but all they really needed was a single run to take the first game of this important road series. Yordano Ventura, or Yo, or Ace Ventura, or whatever you want to call him, plowed through an imposing Baltimore Orioles lineup last night in perhaps the best performance of his young career.
Ventura’s prior outing against the Minnesota Twins put a momentary damper on my hopes that he could break out as this season’s Rookie of the Year. He only got through four innings and allowed four runs to score as he struggled with his command. He also struggled to find the previous depth in his curveball that we all witnessed and praised in earlier starts.
That lack of bite on the breaking ball is really the factor that had me concerned; virtually all young pitchers have occasionally spotty command, and with his electric stuff, Yo can be “effectively wild.” Last night in Baltimore, Ventura awed an entire fanbase and embarrassed a top-shelf MLB lineup by finding his command and his curveball’s devastating tilt.
Ventura threw eight full innings last night, striking out eight and holding the Orioles scoreless. Don’t give Baltimore’s batters a pass because of the nasty weather either — the Royals connected for 11 hits and five runs in the same conditions. This win puts K.C. and Baltimore in a tie in the standings at 11-11, and it keeps the Royals within two games of first place in the Central. It will be starts like this from Ventura that keeps K.C. in the hunt if they’re able to remain relevant throughout 2014.