Yesterday, fans of the Kansas City Royals were treated to something that they had not seen yet. For the first time in his major league career, Yordano Ventura made a relief appearance, coming into the game to relieve Bruce Chen.
This was something that had been hinted about, as manager Ned Yost stated on Saturday that Ventura could be used as a reliever. While Yost said that he felt that Ventura would be able to give the Royals three or four innings if needed, it turns out that his workload was not that significant. Ventura pitched 1.2 innings, allowing only one hit while striking out three. With the hard throwing Ventura hitting 100 MPH following the soft tossing Chen, he proved to be extremely effective.
The outing was interesting for Yordano Ventura as well. It was the first time that Ventura could recall warming up in the bullpen and entering a game with a runner on first. Despite having made fourteen relief appearances in the minors, it was a different feeling doing so in Kansas City.
With the flamethrowers that the Royals have available in their bullpen on a day to day basis, being able to bring Ventura in to relieve his good friend Bruce Chen was certainly an enjoyable luxury. He looked exactly as one would have expected, as Ventura threw only 26 pitches to the six batters he faced. Considering the three strikeouts he recorded, that was a fairly economical outing.
Yordano Ventura managed to pick up the win as the Royals rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh, evening his record at 7-7 on the year. More importantly, that win snapped a three game losing streak for the Royals, allowing them to remain within 6.5 games of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. In what may be the only relief appearance of his career, Ventura certainly came through when Ned Yost and the Royals needed him.
The present, and future, for Yordano Ventura is definitely in the Royals rotation. However, for one day, Ventura proved that he can be a weapon out of the bullpen as well.