Royals v. Indians – Pitching Matchups Preview
Friday: RHP Yordano Ventura (2-1, 3.67 ERA) v. RHP Danny Salazar (2-2, 2.40 ERA)
Yordano Ventura has really been an interesting player thus far in 2016.
His velocity has beem down, and as you can see by this chart brought to you by Brooks Baseball, this is a developing pattern.
Some of this may be intentional from the Royals, with the organization having a history of wanting limit some high velocity guys from overthrowing.
This method is very debatable, and many would argue that it is more harmful on the arm, but the velocity dip from Ventura is likely not unintentional.
Meaning, he probably still has that fire in his right arm. However, the goal of not overthrowing that fastball would be to have better command of it, and that has certainly not been the case in 2016.
Ventura enters Friday’s action with a staggering 6.67 BB/9 and he doesn’t appear to be using pitches out of the zone to his advantage, with a 20% O-Swing% (percentage of pitches a batter swings at out of the strike zone), which is 7% below league average.
To summarize that whole paragraph, Ventura is missing the zone a lot and when he does, he is missing badly.
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With that being said, he has still had relative success. Obviously we know that walks are usually a deal-breaker (remember pre-2014 Edinson Volquez?) and eventually, they will catch up with Ventura if he doesn’t bring them down.
However, he enters this start with a 3.67 ERA, with a tolerable 22 strikeouts in 27 IP.
His last start really was the first start that the walks caught up with him, walking six hitters, but only giving up three hits.
Two of those three hits, of course, were homers, but alas.
With all that being said, he heads to Progressive Field, a place where he has had a ton of success, against a team that is as frustrated as the Royals right now.
He will be opposed by the strikeout machine that is Danny Salazar, who already has 34 strikeouts in his 30 IP.
Despite throwing hard, the Royals haven’t had much success against Salazar, with Royals hitters who have faced him hitting just .234 off of Salazar.
Must-See Matchup – Danny Salazar v. Eric Hosmer
Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have been the lone offensive warriors for the Royals thus far in 2016. Each of them have two homers off of Salazar, the only Royals with homers against Salazar, but Moustakas is hitting just .182 against the righty.
Hosmer, on the other hand, has eight hits in his 20 at-bats against Salazar, with six of them going for extra-bases.
The Royals need an offensive jump start, and Hosmer has been that jump for much of the season. Look for that to continue on Friday night.
Next: Game Two - Ian Kennedy Looks To Stay Strong