The Kansas City Royals don't have any time to sulk.
A day after losing their first game in the postseason - and first time since September 27th - the Royals find themselves in a precarious position. Despite really just slipping up for the first time, they very much may need to win tonight in order to keep themselves alive with a realistic shot at winning the World Series.
With three games coming up in San Francisco, a split at Kauffman Stadium would mean that the Royals need just one win out West to bring the series back home. The Royals would need to win two out of three in San Fran if they end up going down 0-2 tonight.
So with their backs against the wall, the Royals will turn to their young starter Yordano Ventura. And the electric righty has had an up and down postseason so far.
Ventura was almost the loser in the wildcard game against the Oakland A's when he came on to allow a three-run home run to Brandon Moss in just his second relief appearance ever. The Royals ended up completing the comeback and everyone could forget about Ventura's blunder.
In the ALDS, he returned to his starting role and threw a seven-inning gem against the LA Angels to pitch his team to victory. But he wasn't great in game two of the ALCS against the Orioles when he couldn't get through five innings at Camden Yards. So what should we expect when he steps onto the biggest stage of his life?
Ventura has an incredibly live arm that allows him to reach up to 102 miles per hour, but that is not the most sustainable way to get outs in the big leagues. In his last start, Ventura looked decent early before eventually giving up most of his progress when his stuff began to get flat.
He's had plenty of time off since his last outing, so I expect him to feel really good early and throw hard. But I'm not sure he can sustain that life through an entire six-inning start after the workload he's taken on during the regular season and into the playoffs. More importantly, he's a strikeout pitcher and the Giants are a team that prides themselves on not striking out.
If Ventura tries to strike out too many batters, San Francisco will probably get to him early. What the youngster must do is pitch to contact to generate easy outs. He really hasn't learned that pitching craft yet, which is good reason for Royals fans to be nervous heading into this start.
Jake Peavy gets the start for San Francisco in a spot that he must be looking forward to. Up 1-0 on the road, there won't be much pressure on Peavy aside from what he puts on himself. He's thrown just 9.2 innings in two postseason starts, but he's also just given up two runs.
With a full bullpen ready to go tonight, Peavy won't need to be economical as much as simply effective. If he can put together shutout innings, it really doesn't matter how many outs he gets because of the artillery ready behind him.
First pitch comes just after 8 PM on the East Coast.