No, Yordano Ventura does not have the flare of the theoretical KC Royals ace Johnny Cueto. But who is not to say he isn’t trying? If pitching on the mound is “Dancing with the Stars,” Cueto, with the mesmerizing moves of a ballet dancer, would win the contest. The younger Ventura is studying the moves of the master. But Ace doesn’t want to win the hearts of dancing judges. Ace wants the black belt.
So can Ventura conquer the 60 Second Maid on double elimination day?
In the bottom of the first, he got into trouble after a foul pop and strike out. He hit Carlos Correa and gave up a single to the ever-annoying Colby Rasmus before getting Evan Gattis to strike out. One inning, no runs and 2 ks.
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Let’s go to the second. The story became how quickly the ball will dance around the batters’ bat, almost as if the ball and the bat were repelling forces. Defying chemistry. But several Astros will turn the ball around bigtime. It seemed like there is no in-between. Either Ventura gets the batter with a strikeout or once in a while, the batter will hit the ball where the sun don’t shine.
Carlos Gomez gets a four bagger. Fortunately, the KC Royals had gotten a two run home run from Salvador Perez, so that solo home run was not overly painful. Yet. Then Correa sent the ball screaming into the afternoon. Aunt Minnie, open the window.
Let’s move to the fifth. Jason Castro fell behind 0 and 2 before Ventura just overmatched the Astros catcher for his eighth strikeout. The announcers now seem to realize there is another pitcher (Ventura) for another team. Jose Altuve hit it near 3rd base. Moose scrambles and then tries to throw it over Eric Hosmer. Ned seems to yawn. He’s seen this before. Nothing much goes over Hoz. Two outs.
Perez goes out to talk to Ace. Maybe they are talking about the better restaurants in Houston. The umpire doesn’t object. He wants to know too. In Houston they serve hamburger and beef.
After the conversation, Ventura issued a walk. Correa almost struck out, but the umpire says no. Then with the runner moving, the Astros got a break. Correa hit one over first base bag. At first, it looked like the runner may have to stop at 3rd. But Correa had cued the ball off the side wall in foul territory and it wildly caroms past the right fielder. The crowd goes wild as the Astros take the lead.
Ventura gets a long fly ball out of the batter. Lorenzo Cain loped after it to make the catch and end the inning. But the walk came home to roost. It seems like they always do.