Ventura will take the mound tonight, in what just may be the most successful stretch of his young career...
My free play is a Run-Line play the KC Royals at 8:10 ET.
Yordano Ventura was projected to be the ace this season for KC but the Opening Day starter has struggled with consistency. He was send to Triple-A Omaha for one day awhile back, before getting recalled after the club learned Jason Vargas would need Tommy John surgery. KC acquired Johnny Cueto around the trade deadline with the hope that he would be the team’s ace down the stretch but so far, Cueto’s performance has left MUCH to be desired. I’d argue that Volquez has been the team’s ace (KC is 19-8, plus-$974 in his starts for MLB’s 5th-best moneyline mark) but Ventura will take the mound tonight, in what just may be the most successful stretch of his young career.
Ventura (9-7, 4.41 ERA) began August by allowing 11 runs in 12 innings over two starts but escaped without a loss. He's since gone 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA and .167 opponent batting average, 32 strikeouts and 12 walks in 25 innings over his last four. Manager Ned Yost told MLB's official website he was impressed with some in-game adjustments Ventura made in last Thursday’s 5-3 home win over Baltimore, after issuing two walks in the first inning. "He was rushing it, he was flying open. His pitch count was up. But then he made an adjustment, slowed his tempo down, and he was down through the zone and got his pitch count manageable. His curveball was excellent, fastball up to 100 mph, changeup good."
Getting the nod for the Tigers in this one will be Randy Wolf (0-2, 2.57 ERA). The 39-year-old gave up four runs (three earned) on nine hits in a loss to Texas in his season debut (August 22), then followed that up by allowing just one run on five hits in a 2-0 loss to the Angels. Although Wolf has pitched in the majors since 1999, he’s made just ONE career start vs the Royals (back in June of 2012), giving up one run in seven innings. Ventura is 3-0 with a 4.56 ERA in four starts and a relief appearance against the Tigers and that record is due mostly to him getting a 10.17 run-support average.
Ventura has won FIVE straight decisions and SIX of his last seven, after struggling over the first half of the season. Maybe by the time the postseason arrives, Ventura will be the team’s ace, after all? Lay the 1 1/2 runs.