Cain's torrid pace due to adjustment at plate

Cain's torrid pace due to adjustment at plate

ANAHEIM -- After Friday night's Royals victory in which Lorenzo Cain continued his torrid road trip with two home runs and three RBIs, reporters huddled around Cain when a nearby teammate chimed in and said, "Locked in, man. Locked in."

That certainly would describe Cain these days. Entering Saturday's game against the Angels, Cain was 13-for-30 (.433) on this trip that started in San Diego, swung through San Francisco and concludes here Sunday. Cain also has six home runs and 12 runs scored on this West Coast swing.

"He's just seeing the ball really well," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The ball looks huge to him."

But batting coach Dale Sveum offers another explanation. Like teammate Alex Gordon, who has been hot at the plate since loading his back leg more, Cain made an adjustment a couple of weeks ago.

"Right now, Lorenzo is really keeping his head on top of the ball," Sveum said. "He has had a tendency to kind of yank his head out [toward third base] in the past. But now, we've really got him staying over the ball with his head.

"With that, he's really able to stay on pitches and hit the mistakes, where in the past sometimes he'd foul that off the end of the bat because his head was pulling out."

The adjustment certainly has made a difference in Cain's power game - his eight home runs this month lead the Major Leagues. Overall, he has 10 on the season, only the second time he has hit double digits in home runs (he hit 16 in 2015) in his career.

"Part of that is where we've been playing on this trip," Yost said. "You hit a ball hard in these last three parks, it'll go out. That's not always the case at Kauffman Stadium."

True, Cain's home runs tend to have less trajectory than prototypical home run hitters.

"I've always been more of a line-drive hitter," Cain said. "Lately, I've been hitting a lot of line drives out of the park. I'm squaring the ball up well."

As for breaking his career-high mark in home runs, Cain just shrugs his shoulders.

"I don't really pay attention to that," Cain said. "I'm more of a day to day type guy, focus on the next game. Whatever my numbers are at the end, I'll worry about that then."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.