Inconsistent play part of building process

Inconsistent play part of building process

CHICAGO -- Kansas City manager Ned Yost isn't looking at the Orioles' playoff push this season as something from which the Royals can learn.

"I can go through 15 different examples, it's not just the Orioles," Yost said of Baltimore, which hasn't had a winning season or reached the playoffs since 1997 but began the day tied with the Yankees atop the American League East. "But you still have to stay focused on what you're doing as a group and where you are. We're getting very close."

Kansas City's strong August, coupled with the Indians' and Twins' struggles, has the Royals in third place, well behind the White Sox and Tigers. But the Royals have played well against contenders like the White Sox (8-4) and Rays (4-2) while struggling against the Twins (5-10).

Yost wouldn't label his team's inconsistent play frustrating. Instead, he said it was exciting to see how close the team is to reaching it's potential.

"We've got some areas we need to address and be more consistent in, mainly our starting pitching," Yost said. "I think our young kids have made great improvements and great strides this year."

At some point, however, young players need to stop making strides toward their potential and actually hit it. Yost said going through that inconsistency is part of the process for youngsters and sometimes it takes a while. He's hopeful, however, that 2012 is one of the final building blocks.

"We put a bunch of young guys tougher all at one time, so they've learned their lesson together, they've gone through it together, they've gotten better together," Yost said. "The first full year is a very valuable year in terms of experience and learning and these kids have, for the most part, all been here from the beginning to the end this year, so it's going to pay dividends next year."