You thought this post would be about the bullpen, didn’t you? I mean we all saw the game on Thursday. Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Damn.
But, no. This is about Yordano Ventura. And his valgus.
Ventura returned to the mound after missing a start with elbow discomfort. (I guess it was “discomfort.” Ned Yost said, “It wasn’t an elbow issue.” Umm… OK?) I don’t know about you, but I was damned nervous. Not that I thought the Royals would send a damaged pitcher back out to start. They obviously thought he was OK. No, my concern was over the idea of a “what if.” What if he lost velocity in the third inning? What if his command was helter-skelter from the start? What if he experienced the same issues that derailed his last start?
Pitchers are scary creatures. Anymore it feels like each pitch could be their last. It’s nauseating. And when you have a stud like Ventura… Yeah. Scary.
According to Brooks Baseball, Ventura uncorked a 101 mph fastball. Cool. Even better, he found a comfort zone and maintained his velocity throughout the contest.
Yost pulled him after six innings and 91 pitches. The right move after the issues of the last two weeks.
While the velocity was positive, there were still some bumps along the way to the win. His command wasn’t all that great. He also had a helluva time closing out innings. In the first, he got two outs on six pitches. Then needed 18 more pitches to get the third out. In the second, he got the first batters out, then coughed up a single and a triple before getting the third out. And in the fourth, he got the first two outs on three pitches. Then allowed a single, a walk and a single before getting the third out. He did settle down in the fifth and sixth, working what you would term efficient innings. Although Yadier Molina helped out by running on Alex Gordon after another two-out single.
For the game, Ventura stuck out one batter. He got only seven swings and misses. That’s not the Ventura we saw pre elbow discomfort. But the velocity was there. I’m not ready to move past the elbow discomfort, but I do feel better about how he’s doing moving forward.
And finally, from gifsection, your latest gif of Nori Aoki losing his battle against baseballs.
Happy Friday. Be careful out there.