Royals manager Ned Yost announced that James Shields will start Game 1 of the ALCS against the Orioles, but he would only go so far as to say that he’s “pretty set” on Yordano Ventura for Game 2.
Ventura had an ugly relief appearance in the Wild Card Game, but the 23-year-old rookie bounced back with seven innings of one-run ball against the Angels in Game 2 of the ALDS.
During the regular season Ventura threw 183 innings with a 3.20 ERA while allowing just 14 homers in 782 plate appearances, including a grand total of one homer in his final 10 starts.
Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, and Danny Duffy are the candidates to start later in the series, but Yost avoided giving any clues about his plans beyond Game 2.
Last week the Pittsburgh Pirates released Francisco Cervelli. Yesterday he was signed by the Braves. Atlanta gave him the start behind the plate and he went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three runs driven in to help his new team to victory over the Mets. Welcome to Atlanta, Frankie.
Cervelli had been rehabbing from a concussion and hadn’t seen big league action since late May. He was ready to come back, though, and the Pirates — who are going nowhere — gave him his release so that he might join a contender for the stretch run.
The performance he put up last night, obviously will not be the norm for him going forward. But it’s also the case that his early 2019 batting line of .193/.279/.248 is not indicative of his talent level either. He posted an .809 OPS (122 OPS+) in 2018, and if he gives Atlanta anything even approaching his usual production it’ll help stabilize a shaky catching situation for the Braves.