The Royals face baseball’s hottest team tonight – the Braves have won nine in a row and are 11-1 on the season. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:10 Central. All uniformed personnel will wear number 42 tonight in honor of Jackie Robinson.
Kansas City lineup: Gordon – LF, Escobar – SS, Hosmer – 1B, Perez – C, Cain – CF, Moustakas – 3B, Francoeur – RF, Getz – 2B, Guthrie – RHP
Atlanta lineup: B.J. Upton – CF, Heyward – RF, Justin Upton – LF, Gattis – C, Uggla – 2B, Francisco – 3B, Johnson – 1B, Simmons – SS, Medlen – RHP
Kansas City Game Notes (PDF file): Game_13_Atlanta_ppq3xbj5
Trivia Fact: Royals lefty Bruce Chen signed with Atlanta on July 2, 1993, just 13 days after his 16th birthday.
The Royals open the road trip tonight at Atlanta. Here are the Dish Network channel numbers for FOX Sports Kansas City through Sunday:
Tuesday, April 16: Dish 444
Wednesday, April 17: no TV (tune in on MLB Network)
Friday, April 19: Dish 441
Saturday, April 20: Dish 442
Sunday, April 21: Dish 443
KC’s first homestand wraps up today at 1:10 vs. Toronto. Manager Ned Yost met with the media this morning and was asked about giving Mike Moustakas a day off. Moose has had a slow start, though Yost has no worries. He talked about Moose being a phenomenal competitor and someone who lives to win baseball games. Expect to see Mike back in the lineup in Atlanta.
It is a WINDY day at The K. Yost was asked about whether home runs could be a factor. He said that today’s starter, Ervin Santana, just needs to keep the ball down, use his slider and fastball, and keep the ball on the ground.
The Royals embark on an eight-game road trip tomorrow, with the first game on Tuesday in Atlanta. This year, teams are playing Interleague contests throughout the season. Yost acknowledged that the N.L. style of baseball is different. He was asked if the early Interleague games and frequent switching back and forth from A.L. stadiums to N.L. stadiums is an issue. He said it is not – every team will have to play their Interleague games at some point. Yost noted that KC will face A.L. teams for several weeks as the next Interleague matchup is in late May.
Manager Ned Yost began this afternoon’s media conference being asked about the recent move to drop Mike Moustakas down to the sixth position in the batting order. Yost responded that he thinks Moustakas will be a major contributor this season, but he is struggling right now offensively. Yost is hoping the move will allow Moustakas to see better pitches and get his confidence at the plate back up.
Yost was then asked about the status of Eric Hosmer, after Hosmer was absent from the starting lineup for a second straight game. Yost stated that Hosmer is fine, and that after the last games against Minnesota with the cold and wet weather, he began to get some tightness in his quad, and that with two consecutive cold weather games he did not want to take a chance with a potential injury.
Yost went on to state that Lorenzo Cain’s move to the designated hitter position today allows the team the ability to rest Cain’s legs, and also give Jarrod Dyson the opportunity for some at-bats, to keep players as fresh as possible early in the season.
Yost’s final question regarded the preparation for going up against reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey in tonight’s matchup, and if there was any way to prepare for a knuckleball pitcher. Yost responded that it is hard to prepare for a knuckleballer and that the best approach is to just approach the at-bat like any other. He commented on the uniqueness of Dickey’s knuckleball and its velocity compared to traditional knuckleball pitchers.
In Ned Yost’s pregame media conference before tonight’s matchup against the Blue Jays, he was asked about the current state of the team’s confidence. Yost replied that the team feels good and that they seem to have a bounce in their step, and that they’ve had that bounce in their step since the first day of Spring Training and have carried it with them into the regular season.
Yost was then asked the reason that Eric Hosmer and Chris Getz received the day off tonight. Yost responded that the move was made as part of the righty – lefty pitching matchup for today, but also to get Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada some at-bats early on in the season.
He was then asked about his thoughts on the new-look Toronto Blue Jays. Yost discussed the numerous moves the team made in the offseason and that the team really improved their pitching, team speed, defense, and offense. He then went on to comment on having spent some time with Blue Jays’ manager John Gibbons while Gibbons was the bench coach for the Royals from 2009-2011. Yost replied that the team just plays the game; that they go with their matchup and the opposing teams goes with their own. He stated that there are times when you may feel like you have a pretty good idea of what the other team’s decision may be, but in the end it’s the players that decide the game.
Ned Yost met with the media in his office this afternoon instead of the dugout due to some persistent rain at Kaufman Stadium. Wade Davis, tonight’s starter, and the inclement weather were among the first topics brought up.
The skipper said he hoped Davis could be a little more consistent in his second start of the young season. He mentioned if Davis can find his release point and get on a roll early, that it would help his starter. Yost was asked if the weather might cause some problems for the pitcher. Ned had this to say, “It’s definitely going to be a little tougher, that’s for sure. When it gets real cold like this it is hard to feel the ball, but both teams play in it so you just have to go out and do it.”
The second topic of discussion at this afternoon’s meeting was about the feeling around the clubhouse given the team’s early success. “There is a high degree of confidence I think. Everybody is having a good time. It’s a good clubhouse, filled with great chemistry and great players. They all get along with each other and it is a lot of fun right now.”
Finally, when asked about the weather forecast, Yost deadpanned, “It’s raining,” which brought on some laughter.
The Royals look to sweep Minnesota tonight at 7:10. Tune in on FOX Sports Kansas City and the Royals Radio Network.
Minnesota lineup: Hicks – CF, Mauer – DH, Willingham – LF, Morneau – 1B, Doumit – C, Plouffe – 3B, Parmelee – RF, Dozier – 2B, Florimon – SS, Hendriks – RHP
Kansas City lineup: Gordon – LF, Escobar – SS, Butler – DH, Moustakas – 3B, Perez – C, Hosmer – 1B, Francoeur – RF, Cain, Getz – 2B, Davis – RHP
Kansas City Game Notes (PDF file): Game #9 vs. Min
Trivia Fact: Kansas City’s last three-game sweep of Minnesota at home was on April 29 – May 1, 2011.
Ned Yost met with the media in the Royals dugout before tonight’s game vs. Minnesota. The first topic of discussion was clutch hitting and if Yost believed in it. He said all his club is trying to do is go up and have good at bats. “If you have good hitters, like we feel we have, and you put up a good at bat, in any situation, you are going to be okay and be successful.”
The second topic of discussion this afternoon was about two of the Royals young stars, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez. Yost said at Single-A while with the Brewers organization, he could tell that Escobar was going to be a fantastic player. “Defensively he was already eye-popping at shortstop. You could watch him swing and just knew when he filled out and got a little older, he was going to be able to swing the bat. That is exactly what has happened.”
Not only did the skipper sing the praises of Escobar, but also did the same for young catcher, Salvador Perez. “He (Perez) is a tremendous blocker, a tremendous game caller and he is a leader behind that plate. He has tremendous passion. He loves to play baseball, a lot like Escobar,” said Yost.
What a thrilling home opener! The series continues at 7:10 tonight vs. Minnesota. Jeremy Guthrie, who turned 34 yesterday, is on the mound for KC. You can tune in on FOX Sports Kansas City or the Royals Radio Network.
Kansas City lineup: Gordon – LF, Escobar – SS, Butler – DH, Moustakas – 3B, Perez – C, Hosmer – 1B, Francoeur – RF, Cain, Getz – 2B, Guthrie – RHP
Minnesota lineup: Mastroianni – CF, Mauer – C, Willingham – LF, Morneau – 1B, Doumit – DH, Plouffe – 3B, Parmelee – RF, Carroll – 2B, Escobar – SS, Pelfrey – RHP
Kansas City Game Notes (PDF file): Game #8 vs. Min
Trivia Fact: On Sunday, James Shields became the 270th pitcher to win at least once with KC. Ervin Santana made that 271 on Monday.