Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals to Skip Yordano Ventura in the Rotation


Sep 17, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Tags: Jeremy Guthrie Kansas City Royals Ned Yost Yordano Ventura

  • Ryan Caltrider

    I try not to second guess too many of his in game decisions but he has time to think about this one and still made a stupid decision. This is mind numbingly stupid.

    • Dave Hill

      He’s made a month’s worth of bizarre decisions already, and the first week of the season is not over. Yost’s Bizarre Decisions may be a weekly feature at some point.

      • jimfetterolf

        I assume having Collins face Kinsler was one of the bizarre decisions? 0-6, 3 Ks. Played the match up and lost.

        • Dave Hill

          That one I was ok with. It was more of the not pinch hitting for Escobar and using Maxwell as a pinch runner for a runner on first that I found odd. I could even, to a degree, justify pinch running for Perez.

          • jimfetterolf

            As I recall, the two real hitters before Esky fanned and Esky drove the ball to right, but caught. Any batter a manager sends to the plate will fail at least 6 out of 10 times.

          • Dave Hill

            That is true, and Escobar did hit the ball well. I just do not have any confidence that he will actually come through in those situations.

          • jimfetterolf

            We’ll have to see. The fact that he hit it to the right is a good sign, that’s what he did in ’12.

          • jimfetterolf

            I would add, thanks to Lee, that Escobar has a higher average against Scherzer than either Cain or Moustakas. Like with Collins, Yost played the match ups. Esky did his job, after solid contact it’s just BABIP and batter loses seven of ten of those on average.

          • jessanders

            You talk about BABIP in the same sentence as hitter vs pitcher match ups with a sub-par hitter?

            And even though he has hit better, a .219 average isn’t exactly exciting (though, strangely, he does have 2 of his 18 career home runs off of Scherzer).

            Escobar is not a good hitter. And the reason Yost let Escobar hit is ridiculous. If he let him hit because he had had some success against Scherzer (see the 2 home runs) then that’s fine. If he let him hit because he was confident in his ability to put the ball in play with good contact, that’s fine.

            But if he let him hit so as to not “get into his head”, then that’s not fine, and he needs to either stop babying the players or the players need to grow the hell up.

          • jimfetterolf

            If Yost made a mistake it was not PH’ing for Cain and Moustakas, who hit Scherzer worse than Escobar does. Escobar at least put the ball in play. Yost played the match ups, just as with Collins the day before.

  • jimfetterolf

    Ventura is the obvious choice due to innings. Don’t care what Ned Yost says, they’ll do everything they can to keep him under about 180 innings.

    • Dave Hill

      I would accept that, if it was the reason given. Instead, I actually think that Yost meant it when he said that the decision was based on emotion.

      • jimfetterolf

        Ned Yost seldom gives an accurate reason for anything. In this case he accomplishes two things; builds Guthrie up as the preferred home opener starter and doesn’t suggest to Ventura that there is any worry about his endurance. Added benefit is it gives Ventura a few more days to acclimate and let the buzz die down a little.

    • Eric Akers

      Another question this brought up was why not skip Chen as well? Shields will be on full rest and ready for Saturday. They don’t like the six man pen, use Chen while you can and get our top pitcher more starts.

      • jimfetterolf

        Only thing I can think of is match ups. Leaving Chen in place faces the Sox’ #5, probably favorable for the Royals, and keeps shields in line for a #1 duel. May not be correct, but I would be looking at that. Just checked, Sox have three games, so their 4 faces Guthrie, their 5 faces Chen, Chris Sale faces Shields. Just a guess.

  • Ed Connealy

    He’s enjoying f-ng with us. It’s “ok” to mess with the media, but it’s also messing with the fans. Not cool. I do think Jim is right. He’s protecting innings as he can for the young gun. Why not just say that? Oh yeah, it’s insecure Ned.

    • jimfetterolf

      Fans don’t pay attention, it’s only AM radio and we folks with too much free time :)

  • moretrouble

    Apparently…and I say that, David, so as to not offer insult…do you know what you’re saying? Skipping a starter in the rotation isn’t just done with the 5th starter — it’s done with anyone, depending on upcoming off days. Why set everyone back a day and mess with the entire rotation just to give one guy his regular start. It not only messes up Guthrie and Chen, but puts Shields on a 7 day schedule. I didn’t check on Vargas, but it’s likely he would be set back, too. Are you out of your mind? Yeah, with a rainout, you’re going to have a change in rotation schedule — but you want the least amount of disruption. One guy, David, not four.

    • Dave Hill

      My biggest issue is the rationale used to explain why Ventura is getting skipped. There are plenty of logical baseball reasons as to why he could be, including the one that you gave MT. If they wanted to say that it will help limit his innings this season, fine. If they are concerned with throwing Shields and Vargas off schedule, fine. But to say that he is being skipped due to an “emotional investment” in Guthrie is ridiculous to me.

    • jessanders

      Skipping Chen instead of Ventura doesn’t put Shields back any further. They’re skipping a starter, we get that. The debate is on who should be skipped. I agree with David that it should have been Chen, not Ventura.

      • moretrouble

        Yost said it would set Shields back. Read Yost’s quote. You agree with David; I agree with Yost.

        Yost talks to those guys on a daily basis. He consults Eiland, who monitors these guys on a daily basis. Neither you, Dave nor I have idea have any idea what they talk about internally. You have to trust that they know what they’re doing…obviously, you don’t.

        You’ve got a right to your opinion and I respect that. Hopefully, fans will give the baseball professionals the respect they deserve.