Ned Yost media session: September 21, 2013

Royals’ manager Ned Yost met with the media prior to tonight’s crucial matchup with the Texas Rangers.  With the Royals delivering the winning run in last night’s game via the free pass, Yost first commented on the club’s ability to draw walks in the recent weeks of the season, and what has changed in the hitters’ approach to make them more patient.  “It’s more confidence I think than anything else.  They have more confidence when the step in the box, which means you don’t try to make things happen as much as much as when you’re trying to things happen earlier.  It’s all part of the process of becoming a team that score some runs.”

With the club vying for a playoff spot Yost was asked whether he is keeping a close eye on the results of those clubs also in the race.  “My mindset is, people are all different, and what works for me is to pay attention to us.  I don’t care what anybody else is doing, I don’t follow what anybody else is doing.  My whole focus, 100%, is on us every single day and what we can do to win a baseball game.  That’s what works for me.”

One of the strengths of the club this season has been the ability of the starting pitchers to go deep into games.   Three pitchers have eclipsed or are on the verge of eclipsing the 200 inning mark.  Yost discussed the importance of his starters being “innings eaters.”  “Going into Spring Training our goal was to have 1,000 innings for our starting rotation.  Erv (Ervin Santana) got over the 200 inning mark last night, James Shields has already been over the 200 mark, and I think Jeremy Guthrie is pushing it to.  It’s extremely important your starters do that; it keep them strong, it keeps them sharp, and it keeps the bullpen strong as well.”

Yost conclude by addressing why he believes the composition of this clubs defense, pitching, and speed make it a dangerous team late in the season and in to the postseason.  “That’s how you can go in to, and win a seven game series, is with pitching and defense.  All of our games are going to be close, it’s just the way that it is, every once in a while we might win 5-1, but the majority of the time it’s going to be 2-1 or 3-2 and pitching and defense keeps you in those games, and allows you the opportunity to win those games.”

Entering tonight’s contest the Royals sit just 2.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second Wild Card spot, while the Rangers are just a half game back.  The Royals and Rangers are even on the season at 2-2.

By Henry Wear

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