BALTIMORE -- Although the Royals arrived in Baltimore ranked 14th in scoring and last in home runs, manager Ned Yost was confident that his offense would eventually hit its stride.
After all, one of the club's primary preseason goals was hiking the run production, which was 11th among the 15 American League teams last year.
"It'll get going. Even when it's going good, you're going to be complaining about the offense," Yost said. "That's just the way it is. If you score five and win, 5-2, you think you should have scored 10. The whole thing is, just score enough runs to win and, if that's the case, then your offense is doing good."
The good news was that the pitching staff ranked second in the AL with a 3.31 ERA.
Entering Friday, the Royals were last in the AL Central standings, but they were hanging in there with just two games separating the five teams.
"Everybody's going through the same thing," Yost said, and he glanced back at Thursday's 5-1 loss at Cleveland. "We looked dead yesterday -- they looked dead yesterday, except for the fifth inning. You just keep grinding it out."
After Cleveland, the Royals were just 21 games into a 162-game season.
"Look, as long as you're leading on the last lap, you're fine. You don't want to get 20 laps down. The goal is being in first place at the end of the year. That's the ultimate goal," Yost said. "We'd love to be there a lot quicker than that. Just keep working hard until it all comes together and we get a run going."
Or, in another context, get a lot more runs.
"And I believe we will," Yost said firmly.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.