The Orioles have lost four straight games and are now getting thrown up against a guy who can throw a baseball 100 miles per hour. What could possibly go wrong?
Time: 8:10pm Eastern Place: Kauffman Stadium (KC)
TV: MASN (Baltimore); Fox Sports Kansas City
Radio: Orioles Radio Network; KCSP 610 AM (KC)
I can't stress enough that this guy can throw a baseball 100 miles per hour. He averages 96.9mph on the fastball so far this year, according to Fangraphs. He has struck out one quarter of the batters he's faced, and when they do put the ball in play, it's been on the ground just over half the time. That is a monster starter, provided he doesn't fall prey to this reaping of elbows across MLB at the present. He will destroy us all, or at least the Orioles tonight.
The O's faced Ventura earlier this year, managing seven hits in eight innings while striking out eight times. They did not score any runs while Ventura was in the game. They had absolutely no chance on that night. They probably have no chance tonight either. Just forget about it and write a fifth straight loss in the books. It's not happening.
LHP Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles
2014: 7 GS, 41 IP, 3.95 ERA, 32 SO, 9 BB, .296 BAA, 1.44 WHIP
Last start (vs. Astros): 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR
One of the supposed reasons for the disruption of the starting rotation, if we assume that the Orioles reporters suggesting it know what they are talking about, is that the Royals struggle mightily against left-handed pitching. Another is that Chen could use an extra day of rest when he could get it.
Are these factors to gain an advantage in this first game of this series - matched up against Ventura - worth having tossed Wednesday's game against the Tigers to the wind by using two starting pitchers on short rest, one of whom just got over pneumonia and the other of whom came out of the bullpen on short rest?
Chen shouldn't care about all of that. He should just go out and pitch. But if he doesn't have a good night, then it's going to make yesterday's pitching debacle feel pointless.
No one on the team has faced Ventura more than four times, so let's not even pretend there's any remotely interesting meaning in the batter vs. pitcher numbers. Here's the lineup, though:
Royals (w/ career stats vs. Chen)
|RF Nori Aoki (L)||2-4|
|1B Eric Hosmer (L)||6-14, 2B, 2 HR|
|DH Billy Butler (Satan)||8-15, 2 2B, 3B, 2 HR|
|C Salvador Perez||1-11|
|LF Alex Gordon (L)||3-13, HR|
|3B Danny Valencia||1-6|
|2B Johnny Giavotella||1-2, 2B|
|CF Lorenzo Cain||3-10|
|SS Alcides Escobar||4-15, 2B|
The Royals bat .245/.309/.343 against left-handed pitching. That is 13th in OPS among AL teams; they're just below the Orioles, who have a .661 OPS against lefties. This is the night for Chen to put up a good outing. The Orioles will need it, because seriously, Ventura. Yikes.