This game was over almost as soon as it started. Reminiscent of Edinson Volquez's short start last week against Cleveland, Yordano Ventura immediately coughed up some runs with poor command. In the first inning, Ventura gave up a home run to Shin-Soo Choo, who batted first for the Rangers. Ventura then forgot to get outs until strikeout incarnate former Royal Carlos Peguero came up to bat and...struck out. Ventura gave up another home run to Prince Fielder in the second inning. It was basically over after that.
A single and a couple doubles in the 7th inning got two runs for the Royals, but there wasn't much else going on. Between Yovani Gallardo and Ventura, there were 21 groundouts and one flyout. One flyout! The Rangers even tacked on an extra run in the 4th off a groundout. How can you get excited about 21 groundouts?
Ventura, despite his initial poor performance, ended up going seven innings. His line was 10 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts, and 2 home runs. You could say he "settled in" after the first two innings; he threw the same number of pitches in the first inning as he did in the fifth through seventh innings combined. Herrera finished the game in his return from suspension. Gallardo's final line was 7 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts.
There. Now you know what happened in the game. Are you happy? Let's talk a little bit about Ventura. Despite his "settling in" after the first two innings, his command sure looks shaky. Here is a plot of his pitches.
There are three pitches that go below the x axis. Three! One of which was a swinging strike! Also, it looks like every called ball was a ball in the dirt. Note to Brooks Baseball--please differentiate those colors more. Anyway, does it look like Ventura had any clue where his pitches were going tonight? He at least had some measure of control over his fastball; he threw his four seamer and two seamer for strikes about 70% of the time. However, hitters can sit dead red on the fastball when you can't find the strike zone with your changeup and your curveball, which were thrown for strikes under 50% of the time. Hitters will hit the heat when they're ready for it.
I'm not terribly concerned about his velocity. Here is his velocity plot throughout the game.
Ventura was amped at the beginning of the game, but his fastball seemed to settle in to the 96-98 range and stayed there.
Anybody got some bright ideas? Anyone noticing something about his mechanics?
In other news, Corey Kluber had 18 strikeouts after 8 innings and got pulled by Francona. He was at 113 pitches. Only 12,313 people were on hand to see it.
Minnesota beat Detroit, so although the Royals lost, they maintain their lead over the Tigers. If the season ended today, three of the five teams in the AL Central would be in the playoffs. The Twins would be in the playoffs. The Twins are only 1 game back from the Tigers and 2 games back from the Royals. The. Twins.
Oakland lost again. That series against the A's later this year gets less exciting by the day since the A's are 13-23.
If the Royals are going to stink, at least everyone else stinks too.