In the bottom of the first inning Friday night, Yordano Ventura and Salvador Perez chose to open up Game 3 of the World Series by throwing six straight fastballs. Curtis Granderson singled on the fourth one; David Wright homered on the sixth.
No matter how hard you throw your fastball, throw enough of them in a row and some hitter will time one.
And the one to Wright was not a particularly good fastball. Salvador Perez set the target at the knees, and but by the time Wright made contact, Perez’s mitt was at waist level to receive the pitch.
By the bottom of the third inning Ventura was mixing in breaking pitches, but he threw one at a bad time.
He had Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard at the plate in an 0-2 count on two fastballs, both called strikes. Then Ventura and Perez settled on a curveball and Yordano did not throw it well.
Instead of a chase pitch to an overmatched hitter — Syndergaard hit .209 in the regular season — Ventura let an opposing pitcher pull an 84 mph curveball for a single.
Next, Ventura fell behind Curtis Granderson 2-1. If you throw a fastball in a fastball count, you better put it in a good location. Ventura didn’t, and Granderson homered.
Ventura topped off his outing by forgetting to cover first base, turning a Michael Conforto groundball into a hit.
A pitcher can get away with pitches that Ventura made mistakes on if they’re well-executed, but these pitches weren’t.
On a night where the Royals needed Ventura to bring his A game, he didn’t. Ventura allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings, and now the New York Mets are back in the series after taking a 9-3 victory.
▪ If you get a good look at Citi Field, you see some weird angles in the outfield wall. If an outfielder misreads where the ball is going to hit the wall, it can take an unexpected carom. Before the game, outfield coach Rusty Kuntz said you can’t plan for everything, just be ready to hustle and do what you can to limit the damage.
▪ Because of how close the stands come to the left field foul line here at Citi Field, third base coach Mike Jirschele told me he has to run to the foul line so he can see what’s happening in the left field corner. It looks like Kuntz would have the same problem at first base.
▪ It wasn’t a surprise that Syndergaard let loose with a high, hard pitch to Alcides Escobar on the first pitch. Escobar has been feasting on first-pitch fastballs and it was suggested before the game that was one way to slow him down.
▪ Wright jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Kelvin Herrera — it’s a pitch Perez likes to call — and singled in another run in the sixth inning. Royals fans should hope for better pitch calling and execution tonight in Game 4.
▪ One theory on beating the Mets: hit groundballs. Their infield is not known for its defense, so put pressure on them to make the plays.
▪ Sitting in left field you could see how much movement Eric Hosmer deals with when Escobar throws him a ball. Escobar slings it sidearm at over 90 mph, and that turns the ball into a sinker.
▪ Ventura’s short outing made the Royals go to the bullpen early; the effects of asking for that many innings from your pen has yet to be seen.