Fire those bullets, Skipper

Well, now Ned Yost has gone all radical on us: "If we’ve gotta use Herrera for six outs, we will. If we’ve gotta use Davis for six outs, we will."

And Greg Holland? No word! But considering that Holland hasn’t thrown more than one inning in more than two years now, anything more does seem awfully unlikely. As C.J. Nitkowski already pointed out, there’s no law — legislated, natural, or otherwise — saying a closer can’t pitch in the eighth inning. Just four years ago, Mariano Rivera pitched 12 times in the postseason, and six of those outings included at least four outs.

Some flexibility with Holland seems even more important now, considering Herrera’s workload and performance. He’s thrown 81 pitches in just the last week — compared to just 24 for Holland — and hasn’t looked all that good, with five walks and two strikeouts. I’m not saying Herrera isn’t rested enough to pitch well; frankly, I don’t have the foggiest idea. But he’s young and it’s a long season and he’s very rarely been worked so hard in his career, over the course of six days. Certainly not in October. So this is utterly uncharted territory, and I wouldn’t count on yet another 25- or 30-pitch outing. 

Which means one inning rather than two.

Craig says Yordano Ventura should go three innings, then two apiece for Herrera, Davis, and Holland. I think he’s kidding.

But you know, Ventura’s also in uncharted territory. He might be the Royals’ best starting pitcher, but his strikeout rate is crazy-down in his last two starts. On the other hand, he crazy-fast pitches were just as crazy-fast as usual in his Game 2 start against the Giants. So he still seems capable of going six or seven innings and striking out six or seven Giants.

My gut? The Royals need Ventura to pitch well, because a) Jake Peavy won’t be as hittable as he seemed in Game 2, b) Herrera’s tired, and c) Ned Yost will be afraid to use any of his non-elite relievers, because of what happened in Game 4.