Yost confident in Cueto, World Series rotation
Left-handers Duffy, Morales may see names called against Mets
KANSAS CITY -- Royals manager Ned Yost set his rotation officially on Monday, and the only real surprise was moving inconsistent right-hander Johnny Cueto up to the No. 2 spot. Right-hander Edinson Volquez will start Game 1 against the Mets on Tuesday night (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8 p.m. game time) at Kauffman Stadium.
Cueto takes the No. 2 spot ahead of right-hander Yordano Ventura, who started Game 1 of the American League Division Series. But Ventura, who pitched Friday, would have had to have gone on three days' rest to pitch Game 1 of the World Series, and Yost indicated he preferred everyone have at least four days' rest.
"Volquez lined up perfectly for the first spot for us," Yost said. "If we brought Ventura back for Game 1, he would have been a day early. We didn't want that. We wanted Johnny Cueto in Game 2, because Johnny really feeds off the home crowd. And we're able to have Johnny in Game 2 and Game 6 here at home, where we think that that gives us a bit of an advantage having Johnny pitching at home in front of our home crowd. They really, really give him a lot of energy. He's pitched his best games here.
"And then Ventura in Game 3. We really like Chris Young in Game 4. He's a guy that it doesn't matter, there's nothing that's going to distract him. There's nothing that's going to slow him down. He's had a great year for us, he's been a great addition for us."
Cueto pitched on the road in the ALCS and turned in a historically rough outing in Toronto, where he was mocked by deafening chants of his last name. He gave up eight runs in two-plus innings.
Cueto, though, was terrific in his last home start, retiring 19 in a row in the Royals' 7-2, Game 5 win over the Astros in the ALDS. Yet Cueto insists he isn't intimidated by pitching on the road.
"It doesn't bother me what the fans do," Cueto said through an interpreter.
But Cueto said he is curious about one thing.
"People seem to forget Game 5 of the ALDS faster than my last start," Cueto said.
Roster not set: The Royals haven't finalized their World Series roster yet (it's due Tuesday), and it's possible there might be some shuffling. Infielders Cheslor Cuthbert and Raul Mondesi Jr. worked out with the team on Monday, and presumably one of them could be added to replace outfielder Terrance Gore.
Yost said the Royals were still discussing the roster.
Mondesi is not on the 40-man roster, but Greg Holland could be transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room if needed.
Lefties could see more action: Royals fans who may be missing left-handed pitchers Danny Duffy and Franklin Morales this postseason may just see more of their favorite guys in the World Series.
Duffy has been limited to 3 2/3 innings and Morales to two through the postseason.
"We've prepared for this and we're ready for any situation when the manager needs it," said Morales, who threw a simulated game Sunday at Kauffman Stadium to stay sharp. "When I put my pitches where they're supposed to go, I can put the hitter off balance."
The lack of work largely is a result of manager Ned Yost's decision to go to righties Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson and Wade Davis late, regardless of the hitters. And Luke Hochevar may have pitched himself into late-inning chances, too. But the matchups simply haven't been there for Duffy and Morales.
"The teams that we played against, Houston and Toronto, weren't really left-handed matchup type of teams for us," Yost said. "But we do have more matchup possibilities here [against the Mets]. Morales and Danny definitely could play a bigger role in this series."
The Mets' lefty thump comes not just from sizzling Daniel Murphy (.421 with three homers and four RBIs in 19 plate appearances against lefties this postseason), but also from Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda and Michael Conforto.
"There are some dudes in that lineup who are extremely potent," Duffy said. "It's not just Murphy. Obviously, you've got to be extra careful with a guy that hot, but you just attack people how they need to be attacked."