CLEVELAND -- The Royals probably wouldn't be in playoff contention if they didn't have one of the best bullpens in the Majors.
Entering Monday night, Kansas City's relief corps led the American League with a 2.58 ERA, a .223 opponents' average against and a 1.16 WHIP. Also, it was tied for second in the league with 45 saves and 74 holds.
None of that is taken for granted by Royals manager Ned Yost, whose team is battling for a the second AL Wild Card spot. He is fully aware of how important his 11 relievers -- seven righties, four lefties -- are to staying in the hunt.
"It's a good thing to have," Yost said. "You can mix and match. Every club has the ability to do that. I mean, it's good on my side, but they've got it too. It's nice to be able to try to maximize your matchups when you can."
Closer Greg Holland is an integral part of the bullpen's strength. The All-Star closer got his 40th save of the year in Sunday's 5-2 win at Detroit, becoming the fourth reliever in Royals history to reach that mark.
Of AL relievers with at least 30 appearances, Holland's 1.40 ERA ranks fourth. He has pitched in 59 games.
"He's the total package, man. He's the real deal when it comes to closing," Yost said. "Last year, when he took over the closer's job, you just knew he was ready, with his stuff. His stuff is so good."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.