Ned Yost media session: July 18
Pitching was the topic of discussion when manager Ned Yost met with the media this afternoon. The opening questions involved tomorrow’s starter and call-up from Triple-A Omaha, 22-year-old left-hander Will Smith. Smith will be making his fourth start at the big league level tomorrow when the Royals take on the Mariners at 1:10 p.m. Thus far he has posted a 1-2 record with a 9.00 ERA (14.0 IP, 18 H, 14 ER) with Kansas City. Yost said the biggest reason they are going with Smith tomorrow is because he has been throwing the ball very well down at Omaha and arguably as well, if not better, than anyone else down there. He said Smith is a young guy and he is going to develop, but he likes his mound presence and his stuff. Yost is looking for him take the mound tomorrow and command the baseball, while keeping the ball down and giving the Royals a chance to win. Yost said he gave the Royals a very good start at Cleveland back on May 29 and he is looking for Smith to do more of the same tomorrow. In the Cleveland game, Smith only surrendered two runs on four hits through six innings of work in the winning effort. Yost said if he keeps the ball down, which as a staff they have not done a good job at during the past few games, then he is going to do just fine.
The next question brought up by the media surrounded this afternoon’s call-up from Omaha, left handed pitcher Francisley Bueno. Yost said they like that he competes very well on the mound, throws strikes and he is left handed. He said they used lefty Tim Collins for two innings last night, therefore he is not available tonight so Bueno will be a good left handed tandem with Jose Mijares in the bullpen to match up against the amount of left-handed hitters the Mariners have in their lineup.
The last questions were asked about tonight’s starter, Bruce Chen, and what he needs to do in order to be successful tonight and get back on track as one of the stronger, more consistent pitchers in the Royals’ rotation. Yost said, simply, he needs to pitch better. Chen needs to keep the ball down, change speeds, establish his fastball and flat out pitch better. Yost went on to say they have struggled here lately and they will continue to do so until they get one to three good starts out of their starting rotation. He said they are poised to have that happen with their three best starters due up in the next three out of four days with Chen tonight then Luke Hochevar and Luis Mendoza on Friday and Saturday, respectively. He said they have the opportunity to solidify this and put an end to the slide and get the bullpen back on track. He closed by saying those three are basically the veterans on the staff and they need to take charge, step up and give the Royals some solid starts.