All signs point to Ventura as KC's ALDS Game 1 starter

All signs point to Ventura as KC's ALDS Game 1 starter

MINNEAPOLIS -- In the aftermath of Sunday's 6-1 win over the Twins at Target Field that secured home-field advantage throughout the postseason in the American League, Royals manager Ned Yost wasn't revealing his starter for Game 1 of the AL Division Series. That decision likely won't come until Tuesday or Wednesday.

But the choice likely won't be a shocker.

Royals postseason gear | Schedule

Right-hander Yordano Ventura, who pitched on Saturday and tied a career high with 11 strikeouts against the Twins, would be on his normal rest if he were to pitch on Thursday.

"He's right where we want him to be," Yost said of Ventura's confidence level.

Game Date Result
Gm 1 Oct. 8 HOU 5, KC 2
Gm 2 Oct. 9 KC 5, HOU 4
Gm 3 Oct. 11 HOU 4, KC 2
Gm 4 Oct. 12 KC 9, HOU 6
Gm 5 Oct. 14 KC 7, HOU 2

Right-hander Johnny Cueto, who was acquired before the Trade Deadline to be the team's ace, likely will be the Game 2 starter on Friday, pitching on his normal rest, too.

Ventura wasn't revealing any secrets, either, about who was going to get the ball on Thursday.

But asked how excited he was about the postseason starting, Ventura said in English with a smile, "Above average."

Ventura, too, is pretty confident about his ability to succeed in the postseason.

"I feel good," he said. "I'm ready whenever they tell me to pitch."

Ventura was demoted in late July, and was almost in a car ready to drive to Triple-A Omaha and report. But then left-hander Jason Vargas suffered a season-ending elbow injury and Ventura was immediately recalled.

Ventura's strong outing

The righty's first start back came against the Astros, and he stifled them on six hits and one run over seven innings on July 26 -- the same day the Royals acquired Cueto.

He has been the Royals' best pitcher since then, going 11-3 with a 3.10 ERA over 14 starts.

"I feel really good where our rotation is at, right now," Yost said. "We're in good shape."

The Royals' game on Thursday will be broadcast on FOX or FS1 or MLBN, with the time to be determined.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.