Dyson to start in CF for Royals; Yost explains various lineup moves

Jarrod Dyson, who had been a late-inning defensive replacement in center, gets the start there in Game 3.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

SAN FRANCISCO — A batting order that Royals manager Ned Yost had been using almost exclusively for the better part of a month finally bit the dust Friday.

Yost, forced to employ National League rules of no designated hitter, used the opportunity to make some big changes.

First, for defensive reasons, he put Jarrod Dyson in the lineup over Nori Aoki, primarily because of AT&T Park’s quirky dimensions in right and center field. Dyson will play center field while Lorenzo Cain slides over to Aoki’s normal spot in right.

"That was out of necessity," Yost said prior to Friday’s game. "With this vast outfield, we knew that we had to put our best defense out there. So that took Nori out of the two (spot) in the order."

With than in mind, Yost moved struggling left fielder Alex Gordon up behind leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar.

After that, Yost had Lorenzo Cain hitting third, followed by first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas, second baseman Omar Infante, catcher Sal Perez, Dyson and pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.

Gordon has been mired in a slump for much of the postseason.

"What we’re trying to do is trying to get him more fastballs to hit," Yost said. "With Escobar leading off, we got speed. Dyson at the bottom of the order — got speed. You’ve got those guys on base, and pitchers tend to, I’m not saying Tim Hudson’s going to do it, but pitchers tend to throw more fastballs in those situations to give the catcher an opportunity, in case they run. 

"And Alex is a really good fastball hitter."

As for the rest of the order shuffle …

"Cain’s been doing fine in the three hole," Yost said. "We moved Moose up because he’s really swinging the bat well right now, and for a little extra protection for Hoz. And Omar’s been swinging the bat better, a little more protection for Moose."

Normally, Yost is adamant about keeping righty-lefty balance in his order, but he got away from that Friday by having Hosmer and Moustakas back to back.

"I didn’t think much about it because both of them are swinging the bat well against left‑handed and right‑handed pitching right now," Yost said.

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.