Yordano Ventura's fastball reaches 100 mph and his passion for pitching runs pretty hot, too. It is a combustible combination that makes every one of his starts interesting, especially with the Royals having a chance to put the season on ice.
Ventura will start Game 3 of the World Series Friday night with the opportunity to put the Mets in a 3-0 hole. He has shown he can rise to the occasion, having pitched seven scoreless innings in Game 6 of the World Series last year, when the Royals were facing elimination.
"I feel ready to go. I feel like, yeah, this is a great spot to be in,'' the 24-year-old from Samana, Dominican Republic, said through translation by teammate Christian Colon on Thursday at Citi Field.
Then again, he has some spotty history, too, such as being winless (0-1) in four postseason starts this year.
The question is whether the Mets will see the Ventura who sputtered to a 5-7 record through the end of July or the one who went 8-1 after that.
"I just kept working hard -- the same work ethic every single day, same thing, kind of pushing through it, knowing it was going to turn around eventually," he said.
Teammate Lorenzo Cain said, "We all talked to him early in the season, telling him to tone it down a little bit." Then again, they didn't want him to tone it down too much. "He's a very emotional guy. He wants to go out there and win. He's a great teammate," Cain said.
Other Royals have noticed that Ventura gets fired up in unfriendly environments, which they take as a good omen for Friday night.
"I don't know why, necessarily, but he's got a lot of mettle, a lot of heart," Ben Zobrist said. "He goes out there and it doesn't seem to faze him. He's focused when he gets on the mound. No matter what's going on around him, he's ready to do his job. I expect him to be ready."