Brandon Belt was asked late Tuesday night what he knows about the pitcher the Giants will face in Game 2 of the World Series against the Royals Wednesday.
“I’ve seen a little bit,” Belt said. “I know he throws hard.”
Yordano Ventura does indeed throw hard. According to FanGraphs, Ventura’s fastball averaged – averaged – 97 mph this season, highest of any starting pitcher in the majors. It isn’t unusual for Ventura to register triple digits on stadium radar guns.
The Giants’ hitters, though, haven’t been overwhelmed by velocity this postseason. According to the ESPN Sports and Info blog Wednesday, the Giants are hitting .377 on pitches of 95 mph or more in the playoffs.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Ventura also threw his fastball for 65.4 percent of his pitches during the regular season, so the Giants figure to see quite a few of them Wednesday night. It will also be interesting to see how Ventura handles the stage – he’s 23 years old and, according to the Royals, the first rookie in franchise history to start a World Series game at any position.
Royals manager Ned Yost was asked about Ventura matching up with the Giants’ fastball hitters and said, “I’m totally comfortable with it.”
“Ventura’s got three above-average pitches,” Yost said in his media conference before Game 2. “He’s got a fastball, curveball and a very good changeup. When he’s throwing all three for strikes, I mean, he’s tough as he can be.
“He has gone through games where he’s relied mostly on his fastball. But the thing about him, he’s got pretty good command of his fastball, too. He works the ball in. He works the ball down and away. But yeah, I’m comfortable with his power against their strength.”
The lineup Ventura will face is the same one that knocked James Shields out in the fourth inning of Game 1. It goes:
And the Royals lineup against Giants right-hander Jake Peavy:
* A few pregame notes: The Giants have won their last seven World Series games, tied with the 1949-50 Yankees for the sixth-longest streak ever. The record of 14 belongs to the Yankees from 1996-2000. During the seven-game winning streak, Giants pitchers have allowed eight earned runs in 64 innings for a 1.13 ERA.
The winner of Game 1 has won 10 of the last 11 World Series, with the lone exception being the last team besides the Giants to win the Series opener on the road – the Phillies in 2009.
Pablo Sandoval’s streak of reaching base safely in 24 consecutive postseason games is tied for the fourth-longest in MLB history. He can tie Boog Powell Wednesday night, who reached in 25 straight from 1966-71.
The Royals’ loss Tuesday night ended their franchise postseason winning streak at 11 games, one shy of the MLB record set by two different Yankees teams from 1927-32 and 1998-99.
* Also, in case you missed them Tuesday morning, here are the game story from Game 1, focusing on Madison Bumgarner’s latest October gem, and the postgame notes leading with Sandoval coming up big in another World Series Game 1. Also, columnist Ailene Voisin wrote about Hunter Pence’s key home run in the first inning. It got quiet after that home run – really quiet. We’ll see what the atmosphere is like Wednesday night.