The Royals led the Athletics in the sixth inning, when the American League Wild Card Game took a turn. Oakland rallied for five runs in the inning, but even after Kansas City came back and won in 12 innings, postgame reaction turned to the Royals and manager Ned Yost.
With that 3-2 lead, the first two A's runners in the sixth inning reached base against Royals ace James Shields. That's when Yost pulled his starter after just 88 pitches, to bring in another starter. Yordano Ventura, who has started 33 of his 34 major league games and 66 of his 67 minor league games in the last four seasons, was summoned in relief.
Brandon Moss hit Ventura's third pitch over the center field wall to give the A's the lead for good.
Pedro Martinez was particularly vocal in his criticism of Yost, both on TBS during the postgame television coverage and on Twitter.
A sampling of the reaction:
Ventura's first two pitches: overwhelmed by adrenaline. So then he grooved one. Moss with his second homer.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 1, 2014
I think Ned Yost was trying to give away this game, in any way possible. I dont agree with the situation of putting Ventura into the 6th— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 1, 2014
I think Ned Yost had a panic move and almost gave the game again. If they would have lost, he would have been the ugly goat.— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 1, 2014
Sometimes you have to question and second guess some of the movements managers make. What was Yost thinking when he brought Ventura in?— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 1, 2014
Mark Mulder (@markmulder20) October 1, 2014
When you hear us talk about Buck Showalter running a great bullpen and how's that an X factor, remember tonight.— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) October 1, 2014
Very hard for a manager to "win" a game in MLB, far easier to lose one though... Wow.— Curt Schilling (@gehrig38) October 1, 2014
James Shields threw 88 pitches tonight. He had thrown more than 88 pitches in every single previous start as a Royal.— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) October 1, 2014
This is what it feels like to hit on 19 and bust.— Brian Bannister (@RealBanny) October 1, 2014
More concerned for Yordano now. Over the offseason he will have a lot of time to replay this moment. Unfair for a rookie out of his element.— Brian Bannister (@RealBanny) October 1, 2014
Yordano Ventura thinking about this all winter is unfair to a young kid who had a great season.— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) October 1, 2014
Then Jim Bowden brought it all full circle, referencing this potential canine transaction.
I think Ned Yost should have to buy that lady with a sign a puppy— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) October 1, 2014