Royals simply following owner David Glass’ friendly suggestion to ‘win every game’
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ten days ago, Royals owner David Glass stood next to manager Ned Yost behind the batting cage at Kauffman Stadium and jokingly said, "You know, Ned, it’s OK to win every game."
Yost’s response, of course, was more practical.
"He tried to explain differently to me," Glass said, smiling.
Funny thing is, the Royals haven’t lost since that friendly exchange between owner and manager. Apparently, it is OK to win every game.
The Royals’ season has dramatically turned around in these last 10 days as the Royals have emerged as the hottest team in baseball, winning eight straight games.
And they have done so in dramatic fashion, not just beating their foes, but pummeling them. They have outscored their opponents, 56-25, during this surge.
Now they find themselves trailing the division-leading Detroit Tigers by just a half-game.
All along, this is the team that general manager Dayton Moore and Yost envisioned they would have as they scribbled down potential lineups during the offseason.
After trading for Nori Aoki and signing Omar Infante, Moore felt strongly that he had filled the two gaping holes in the Royals’ lineup — right field and second base.
"If this is the team we enter spring training with," Moore told me last December, "we are a better team than we were last year. Much better."
The problem, of course, is that for two months, the Royals’ offense tried to make a liar out of Moore. A lineup that was supposed to produce one through nine instead looked feeble and overmatched.
Now, however, that same lineup seemingly can’t be stopped. Everyone is contributing. There are no soft spots for opposing pitchers to breeze through.
The Royals are averaging seven runs per game during the winning streak. And, coincidence or not, they’re averaging 5.5 runs per game since Dale Sveum took over as hitting coach.
In the big picture, this is the offense Moore thought he had last December. He thought Aoki and Infante would be tablesetters, with Infante also delivering clutch hits (like his three-run homer Monday night).
Moore determined he wouldn’t have to go out and add another power hitter back then because moving Alex Gordon from leadoff to the No. 5 spot essentially gave the Royals another run-producer in the middle of the lineup. Gordon is tied for the team lead with seven homers and leads the Royals in RBI with 36.
Eric Hosmer, after hitting just one homer in the first two months of the season, has three homers and nine RBI during the winning streak.
In his last 10 games, Billy Butler is hitting .361 with five doubles, a homer and 10 RBI.
Sal Perez is riding a 10-game hitting streak that includes a .395 average, three doubles, two homers and eight RBI.
Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar appear to be headed toward career years.
And even the much-maligned Mike Moustakas is hitting .333 during the streak with two homers and five RBI.
As Yost has said often in the past month, the entire team revolves around the offense.
And right now, that offense has made the Royals believe they have a chance to win every night.
Maybe all it took was a friendly suggestion from the owner.