With today’s rainout, it was inevitable that one of the members of the starting rotation would have their turn skipped. Typically, on most teams, that pitcher who would be passed over is the fifth starter. For the Royals, that would have made sense. Bruce Chen was used in the bullpen for a good part of last year, and would theoretically be well served in that role again.
Instead, it will be Yordano Ventura who will be sent to the bullpen for a couple of days while Jeremy Guthrie and Chen make their scheduled starts. So, why move Ventura back instead of sending Chen to the bullpen? Apparently, because Ned Yost is “emotionally invested” in having Guthrie start the home opener at Kauffman Stadium tomorrow.
This sentiment could conceivably make sense if Guthrie was a member of the Royals for ten seasons, a fan favorite who had stayed despite the down years and a lack of payroll. Instead, Guthrie is an essentially league average pitcher at best with minimal upside. It is hard to see how Guthrie is a better option to start a game than Ventura.
As the manager of the Royals, a major part of Yost’s job description is to do his part to put the team in the best position possible to win. With this decision, that does not appear to be what Yost is doing. At times, a manager can have a gut feeling that a lesser talent will perform better, and will roll the dice, but emotions have no part in that.
Yes, Yordano Ventura has a lot less experience than Jeremy Guthrie. Yes, the Royals may look to limit Ventura to approximately 180 innings this season, so skipping his start could have been explained that way. Instead, Yost is seemingly allowing his heart override what should be an easy decision to let Ventura have his turn in the rotation.
Ned Yost has made several bewildering decisions already this year, and this is just another one. Yordano Ventura has just been Yosted.