Guthrie over Ventura boils down to experience
Yost opts to start right-hander in home opener, move prize rookie to Tuesday
KANSAS CITY -- When the Royals were rained out on Thursday at Detroit, the question was raised: Why not just move probable starting pitcher Yordano Ventura, the prize rookie, over to the home opener on Friday against the White Sox instead of staying with veteran Jeremy Guthrie?
Simple answer in manager Ned Yost's thinking.
"Here's the deal: When you're rained out, your fifth starter gets bumped. In reality, Ventura's our fifth starter," Yost said. "The only reason he's not our fifth starter [in order of the rotation] is because I didn't want Bruce [Chen] back to back with [Jason] Vargas. I wanted Guthrie to start Opening Day because he's always had good success against Chicago."
Included was Guthrie's 3-1 victory over the White Sox in last year's third game at Chicago.
"This is kind of like a mirror image of last year," Yost said before Friday's game. "We started out 0-2 and Guthrie facing Chicago. He ended up pitching a great game, and actually we got on a bit of a run in April after that. When I saw the schedule, I thought that would be kind of the perfect scenario for that."
Another factor was Ventura's limited experience and Guthrie's vast experience that included four season openers in the previous six years. Ventura's total Major League exposure was three starts last September.
"He's a guy with three Major League starts under his belt, and I'm not going to start him Opening Day," Yost said.
By the way, Yost also reaffirmed that Ventura has no innings limit in his rookie season.
"There's not an innings debate. How many times do I have to say it?" Yost said.
Meantime, Yost hoped to use Ventura in a relief appearance either Friday or Saturday. If not, he'll throw a side session on Sunday to prepare for his Tuesday night start against the Tampa Bay Rays.
For those fans eager to see Ventura, there should be plenty of seats available on Tuesday night.
"They'll see him pitch quite a bit, a whole lot, but that doesn't mean I'm going to deviate from anything that we need to do," Yost said.