KANSAS CITY— As the Royals stumble through September, having lost 11 of 16, manager Ned Yost was asked if he put value into the notion of momentum as Kansas City heads toward October and the postseason.
“I’d be stupid to say I didn’t,” Yost said. “You can’t flip a switch. You want to be playing good baseball going into the playoffs and have everything settled.
“Now, your momentum varies day to day after that [in the postseason]. I think momentum gives you a better feeling of what’s going on.”
While the American League Central-leading Royals have faltered, they have not been hurt in the standings because the second-place Twins are struggling as well. The magic number to clinch the division -- it would be Kansas City’s first division title since 1985 -- was three entering Monday, and it held a two-game edge over the Blue Jays for home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
That’s primarily why Yost isn’t fretting.
“Right now, you have supreme confidence in your club, but you don’t feel good about what’s going on,” Yost said. “There’s no major concern, though.”
Interestingly, the Royals didn’t exactly storm into the playoffs last year. They were 10-10 heading into the AL Wild Card Game against the A’s before that win propelled them all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
“I just remember San Francisco last year coming into Kansas City in August, and they were in a slump and we just thrashed them,” Yost said. “And look where they ended up.”
The Giants, in fact, lost nine of their last 15 games in 2014 heading into the playoffs. The ‘06 Cardinals provide another example: They lost 17 of 29 heading into the postseason and wound up winning it all.
“It can turn overnight,” Yost said. “We’ve seen it many times. You struggle and you struggle and then you win, and all of a sudden you look up and you’ve won eight out of 10.
“It [stinks] losing right now, yeah, but it’s just one hit here and one hit there and you can get things going. I mean, we’re playing good games, just not winning enough.”