Now Commenting On:

Yost maintaining options in Kansas City 'pen

Yost maintaining options in Kansas City 'pen


CLEVELAND -- The Royals currently are operating with a seven-man bullpen but, with the starting pitchers going much deeper into games this season, would manager Ned Yost consider going with six relievers?

"Not really," Yost said. "Because we're not scoring enough runs. Even though our starting pitchers are going deep, I still have to use these guys every day to protect a one-run or a two-run lead. Look, I just want to score enough runs to win. But when you're protecting a one- or two-run lead from the seventh inning on, you're using your main guys every day to do it."

Yost pointed to Monday night's 2-1 Royals victory over the Indians. James Shields left after six innings and Yost used three relievers in left-hander Bruce Chen and right-handers Aaron Crow and Greg Holland.

"We've got a tied ballgame [1-1 in the eighth]. If we had a one- or even a two-run lead in that game, I would not have had to take Bruce out against a right-handed hitter [Mark Reynolds] who has a chance to hit the ball out of the park and bring in another reliever [Crow] there. Heck, Bruce might have been able to get us out of the eighth inning instead of using two more pitchers. But I've got to do that to maximize my matchups. When you do that, you're using those relievers more."

Switching pitchers to take advantage of matchups naturally occurs more often in close games and Yost is doing that more often this year than in 2012.

"No. 1, we're ahead a lot more this year and, No. 2, the run differential hasn't been that great lately," Yost said.

Could Yost ever envision cutting back to six relievers and adding another bench position player?

"Once we start getting three and four runs ahead, then yeah. But we're not doing that right now, so we've got to keep those options open," he said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español