KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The worst part about being a manager in Ned Yost’s mind is this: The emotional highs from winning aren’t nearly enough to offset the lows from losing.
The Royals’ manager said he has a hard time recalling specifics about any of the recent wins during the 10-game streak. But he remembers everything about each loss during the current four-game skid.
"See, that’s what is so screwed up about this game," Yost said. "There is no balance. The wins don’t … the ‘high’ from the wins aren’t as great as the ‘low’ of the losses.
You win 10 in a row and that’s a nice feeling, but it doesn’t even match one single loss. Not even close.
Royals manager Ned Yost
"You win 10 in a row and that’s a nice feeling, but it doesn’t even match one single loss. Not even close."
The Royals’ 7-5 loss to Seattle on Friday night was especially hard to flush out of his memory, Yost said. The Royals fought back from a 5-0 deficit against Hisashi Iwakuma to tie the score, only to lose in the ninth when closer Greg Holland gave up two runs.
It was the first time Holland had given up more than one run in a game since early April 2013 — 95 appearances ago.
"That was especially tough," Yost said. "You battle your (behind) off and come back and still lose.
"Here we haven’t scored a run off (Iwakuma) in two years and we come back and get five runs. We have it scripted right. But it’s nobody’s fault. It was a great game and we just didn’t win."
Three of the four losses on this skid have been by identical 2-1 scores, and those narrow defeats are the most agonizing of all.
"Getting blown out is actually almost easier than losing the close games," Yost said.
Part of the problem, he said, is that the Royals are still trying to build a winning organization, so each loss becomes somewhat magnified in the big picture.
"I don’t know why that is," he said. "Even three years ago when we weren’t winning many games …. It is really, really hard to do what we’re trying to do, and that is to develop an organization into a winner.
"But then when you get to this point, every game is so important. And when you win a game, well, it’s, ‘Hey, we just did what we’re supposed to do.’ But when you lose, it’s like, ‘No, we didn’t do what we’re supposed to do. We took a step back.’"
And for the Royals there never seems to be any margin for error. The Royals have been fighting all season to get over .500 and now that they are, they’re fighting just to stay over .500.
"Everybody wants comfort," Yost said. "And when you win, it is very comforting. And all of us — the players, coaches, manager, front office — want to get a little leeway with our record or in the standings. It’s almost like getting three runs in the first inning of a game — you get a little breathing room and that allows you to make a mistake or two.
"But when you’re teetering the fine line all the time, you have no breathing room. Ideally, you’d like to get three or four or five games up in first place. And then the other guy is playing catch-up, not you."
For now, as the Royals continue to teeter at three games over .500, each loss will stick in Yost’s mind through the night, and through the next day.
"When you win a game, you come in (the clubhouse) and you feel good for a minute, then you don’t even think about it again," he said. "When you lose, you dwell on it, at least until the next game starts …. It (stinks) to lose."
So how does Yost cope with the emotional yo-yo?
"You remind yourself of your philosophy," he said. "And my philosophy is that (the players) go out there and play with energy and their best effort, and I’ll take whatever happens. And those guys out there in that clubhouse play that way 99 times out of a hundred."