Ned Yost media session: April 15
Before Friday’s matchup against the Seattle Mariners, Royals manager Ned Yost reflected on a number of topics, most notably last night’s outstanding pitching performance from left-hander Bruce Chen. Chen tossed 8.0 innings for a rain-shortened complete game and his sixth straight win dating to August 29, 2010. Yost said that Chen is changing speeds and using different arm angles to keep opposing hitters off balance.
The skipper also noted that he will be giving his starting outfielders some rest over the next few games, beginning tonight when Mitch Maier will start in left field, allowing Alex Gordon to have the night off. Yost mentioned that in the American League it is more difficult to work reserves into the game and that the starting outfield of Gordon, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur has played so well that he has refrained from taking them out of the lineup. Yost’s plan is for Francoeur to take tomorrow off and Cabrera will sit on Sunday.
Heading into tonight’s contest, the Royals are tied for first place in the AL Central at 8-4 and 4-3 in divisional play. Yost stated that the difference offensively is that KC hitters are going to the plate with a plan in mind and have shown marked improvement over their two-strike approaches last season. The Royals have been solid defensively, especially lately after rough first two games.
Tonight’s starter Luke Hochevar won his last time out on Sunday at Detroit and has walked only two hitters in 18.2 innings this season. Yost expressed that he would to see his big right-hander continue to pound the strike zone while keeping the ball down to force ground balls and quick outs.
Tomorrow afternoon (12:10 first pitch), Sean O’Sullivan will make his first start of 2011 and will have Matt Treanor working with him behind the plate. Yost spoke highly of the veteran catcher’s ability to provide guidance for young pitchers, including Hochevar and Kyle Davies.