Yordano Ventura had an impressive season debut for the Kansas City Royals but didn’t get enough support to earn his first major league victory. He might not need too much help in his next attempt at that milestone.
The rookie right-hander will try to help the Royals snap an 0-5 start on the road when they begin a three-game series against the offensively challenged Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
Ventura (0-0, 0.00 ERA) gave up two hits, walked none and struck out six over six innings last Tuesday against Tampa Bay but did not get a decision in a 1-0 defeat.
"He’s good and he knows it. Not in a cocky way, but he’s got a lot of confidence in his abilities and what he can do," manager Ned Yost told the team’s website. "He’s not afraid to compete. He feels like he belongs here."
Ventura is slated to make his fifth major league start against an Astros team that’s batting just .189 with a slugging percentage of .354. Houston was blanked for the second time in three games Sunday, 1-0 by Texas.
"We’ve got to get (the offense) going. If you don’t score, you’ve got zero chance of winning," manager Bo Porter said.
The Astros (5-8) have lost eight of 11 and four of five at home since opening the season with back-to-back wins over the New York Yankees.
The Royals are off to their worst start on the road since going a franchise-worst 0-12 in 2006. They had a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning Sunday in Minnesota but the Twins scored two runs after Wade Davis’ throwing error on a comebacker in the bottom of the frame.
"That’s baseball, stuff like that happens," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "We’ve just got to put a stop to it. Better early than late."
Kansas City (4-7) has plated nine runs on the road while batting .189. They’re hitting .239 overall with 32 runs and have a major league-worst one home run, giving them one of baseball’s worst slugging percentages at .312.
Hosmer is 4 for 19 on the road while Billy Butler is 1 for 18 away from Kansas City.
The Royals may have a chance to get their offense on track against a struggling Lucas Harrell (0-2, 11.05). The right-hander has given up five runs, seven hits and three walks in each of his first two starts while failing to pitch more than 4 1-3 innings.
Harrell allowed two runs in the opening frame Wednesday in Toronto and gave up another three before being pulled with one out in the fifth.
He gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings in his only start against Kansas City last season but did not get a decision in a 2-0 loss June 9.
Harrell might not be too thrilled to see Omar Infante on this year’s Kansas City squad. The second baseman is 5 for 6 all-time against him.
Ventura has never faced the Astros or any of their current hitters.
Kansas City has won 11 of 16 over Houston. The Royals went 4-2 versus the Astros in 2013 but dropped two of three at Minute Maid Park from May 20-22.