Yordano Ventura performed brilliantly in the highest pressure situation of his career, an elimination game in the 2014 World Series. Now, he’s learning to deal with a different type of pressure.
Ventura is struggling. The Royals have lost his last four starts, in which he has surrendered 11 runs in 20 innings, dropping his record to 3-6. It’s the worst stretch of his two-year career.
Ventura, 24, took the mound as the opening-day starter with the ink still wet on a five-year, $23 million deal.
Trying to live up to the contract is where Ventura may be falling short, Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.
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“I never bought into the theory that guys want to get their money and ride off into the sunset,” Moore said. “They want to earn their contract, prove they deserve it. He’s probably putting a little too much pressure on himself.
“He’ll get through it. He just has to learn to manage the expectations. It’s difficult to manage failure and it’s just as difficult to manage success.”
Ventura went only three innings in each of his last two starts. He left last Friday’s game at St. Louis after feeling numbness in his right hand.
Ventura threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Monday and is set to start Friday’s series opener against the Red Sox.
“At the end of the day, the talent always wins,” Moore said. “As long as they’re making good choices, their character is remaining strong and they love to compete and play baseball, they tough through things.
“We need him to pitch well. I think he will.”