The Giants hopped out to a series lead last night and gave us three straight postseason wins in the process. Now both sides return on Wednesday night for game two at Kauffman Stadium. With games three, four, and five in San Francisco, the Royals will feel some extra pressure to win game two, despite just suffering a loss for the first time in over three weeks. Yordano Ventura gets the home start against veteran Jake Peavy for the Giants.
So while the Royals will face plenty of collective pressure in game two as a team, no one will have more of it directed their way than Yordano Ventura. Kansas City’s 23-year-old hurler has had an up and down postseason. He was nearly the goat in Kansas City’s first game in the wildcard game against Oakland when he came in and gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. But the Royals rallied to win and everyone forgot about Ventura’s relief appearance. Several days later he returned to his normal role as a starting pitcher and came through with an excellent start against the Angels. His seven-inning, one-run performance paced Kansas City on the road. Then came his third appearance, and second start, when he surrendered four runs and five hits in 5.2 innings against the Orioles. The most troublesome statistic might have been his three walks, though.
I really don’t think Ventura will pitch well in game two for a couple reasons. For one, I’m not sure how fresh his arm is at this juncture of the season. Sure he’s had a lot of time off since his last start in Baltimore, but he continues to overthrow the ball with mechanics that might be described as decent at best. He’ll probably feel fresh initially, so I expect Ventura to throw well for a couple innings before ultimately unraveling. There’s a ton of pressure on the young man in this spot and I’m not sure he’s ready to beat the Giants by pitching to contact. San Francisco becomes a very tough team to strike out in the postseason. And if Ventura stresses the strikeout instead of just pitching to generate outs with his defenders, it might be a short night.
Jake Peavy is a lot more straight forward. A veteran pitching in the World Series for the second time in as many years, Peavy should continue to throw the ball solidly. He’s given up two runs in 9.2 innings this postseason. The problem with Peavy is that he hasn’t been able to go deep into games. But with a well-rested bullpen after game one, San Francisco will be ready to draw upon the artillery to back Peavy up. He won’t throw a shutout, but I also don’t expect Kansas City to knock him all over the park.
Free Pick: Over 7 (+100)
YTD: 43-28-3 +8.64