Yordano Ventura, who throws a triple-digit fastball, possesses a trio of fantastic breaking pitches, and has experience at the highest level of professional baseball, continues to prove that he can't be trusted in the slightest.
The Royals lost 8-4 to split a two-game home set with St. Louis on Tuesday night. As for Ventura, he was a disaster in his first start since June 17, allowing a season-worst seven runs in 5.1 innings. He opened the night with a 1-2-3 first inning, but after that, he was knocked around all over the park by the Cardinals.
St. Louis erased a scoreless tie by plating three runs in the top of the second. Stephen Piscotty led off with a double. Matt Adams singled. Jhonny Peralta walked to load the bases. From there, three runs scored on a fielder's choice by Yadier Molina, a single by Kolten Wong, and a groundout by Greg Garcia.
Kansas City immediately responded by scoring two runs in the home half of the second. Paulo Orlando plated Eric Hosmer on a groundout, and Christian Colon came through with a two-out RBI single into left field. The game remained 3-2 until the top of the fifth, when St. Louis got the two runs back on a home run by Matt Carpenter and a sac fly by Adams.
Ventura completely fell apart in the sixth inning. He put runners on the corners with one out before being lifted for Brian Flynn, and the reliever couldn't do anything to stop the damage. The next three Cardinals plated runs to blow the score up to 8-2, and just like that, St. Louis was in complete control of the game.
The issue with Ventura, for me at least, is that when you give a player a six-year contract, you expect to be able to count on them night-in and night-out. It's not even a matter of being spectacular, but rather just be consistent. Ventura is anything but that at this point. It goes without saying that he has all the ability in the world, but it's starts like this that worry Royals fans that Ventura will never reach his full potential.
Ventura's final line: 5.1 innings, seven runs, four strikeouts, three walks, and 98 pitches. His ERA climbed back to 5.00 on the season. The loss dropped him to 6-4 on the year.
The Royals grabbed two runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Cheslor Cuthbert whacked a 2-RBI double into the left-center gap. They tried to put together a ninth-inning rally when Colon, Drew Butera, and Alcides Escobar loaded the bases with one out, but a pinch-hitting Alex Gordon popped up, and Hosmer grounded out to end the game.
Oh yeah, and then Lorenzo Cain left the game after injuring his left hamstring/leg trying to beat out a groundball in the seventh inning. He pulled up gimpy when he began to decelerate, and he was immediately pulled from the contest. More on his status should be coming as the evening goes on.
Michael Wacha (4-7) earned the win with a good-but-not-great start. The Royals did tag him for nine hits and four runs, but he made big pitches when he needed to, escaping a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the second inning. He struck out four and walked just one.
At 40-36, the Royals will now hit the road for two games against these Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Tomorrow night, Edinson Volquez will oppose Carlos Martinez. First pitch is at 7:15 pm.