High expectations clear in Yost's evaluation

High expectations clear in Yost's evaluation

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are due to reach the halfway point of their season, Game 81, on Sunday against the Angels.

So manager Ned Yost was asked before Wednesday night's game if his club had responded as well as expected in the first half.

"Not quite the way we wanted it," he said. "How many games are we behind? Three? We're three games over .500, and at this point last year we were probably still seven or eight under. So we've done a nice job there."

Actually, after 77 games last year, the Royals were a little better than that -- they had come back to within three games of the .500 mark and were 5 1/2 games out of first place. But it took them until their 102nd game to finally reach .500.

So this year they're already above that.

"I think our pitching has been dynamic. The defense has been good," Yost said. "Still a little bit inconsistent offensively, and I think that's going to turn around. I think we're going to be more consistent in the second half offensively. But three games out and three games over .500 -- we could be in better position, but we could be in a lot worse, too."

Yost feels confident his players are well prepared to handle the second half after last year's late chase for a playoff berth.

"I really do. I feel like the experience that they had last year ... when they went through it last year, I don't think that they knew that they could get out of it," he said. "This year they've been through it before, and they know they can get out of it. There's a lot more confidence this time now than there was this time last year."

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