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Johnny Cueto likely to start Game 2 of the ALDS

Per Andy McCullough, it looks as though Ventura and Cueto will start Games 1 and 2, respectively.

"Please let me throw Game Two. Please let me throw Game Two."
"Please let me throw Game Two. Please let me throw Game Two."
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Let us allow Andy McCullough to break the news:

This echoes much of what he said earlier in his Tuesday lunchtime chat at the Star, where he indicated that he thought Yordano Ventura might in fact be the likely starter for the first game of the Division Series.

With the Royals set to have their postseason start a week from Thursday and Yordano Ventura scheduled to make his last regular season start on Saturday, maintaining the rotation's scheduled rest would put Ventura on the mound for Game One and Cueto for Game Two.

Whether this speaks to what the Royals organization feels internally about the differences between Ventura and Cueto would be entirely conjecture.

Traditional baseball thought would dictate that the best starter would start the first game of a five-game series. For long-time Royals' fans, it is difficult to imagine the organization breaking from traditional thought on this front, though stranger things have happened.

Over at FanGraphs, Roger Cheng postulated just over a week ago that perhaps a team would be marginally better served saving their ace for Game Two of a five-game series, especially since the pair of travel days mixed into the back end of the series would allow for the team sending their ace out in Game Five on full rest after pitching in Game Two. Of course the gains in win expectancy when employing this strategy were so marginal as to probably not be worth pursuing, especially when factoring in the risk of a rain delay forcing the team to pitch their ace on short rest, per the author's words.

Given Cueto's mighty struggles since being acquired, it is not unreasonable to assume that the Royals have come to the conclusion that Ventura is the better option right now, especially after his fantastic start last night and stronger performance down the stretch. That isn't to say that Cueto is not the better pitcher, in their eyes or in reality, but his performance can be said to embolden his staunchest supporters.