Royals closer Greg Holland could soon add yet another milestone to what has already been an All-Star season.
By BOB DUTTON and NICOLE POELL
The Kansas City Star
Holland needs just one more save to match the Royals single-season saves record of 45 -- a record shared by Dan Quisenberry, who accomplished it in 1983, and Jeff Montgomery, who did it in 1993.
Not that the record is even on Hollands radar.
I dont really concern myself with that, he said. I just know every game that we win is a step closer to where we want to be at the end of the season.
Holland has been a major part of getting the Royals to this point -- still contending for a spot in the postseason. He has a 0.55 ERA since July 3, and from May 30 until Sept. 3, he racked up 31 saves in a row, which was the second-longest streak in team history behind Joakim Sorias 36.
Holland said he learned a lot watching Soria close out games.
Just learning how he went about his business was big, Holland said. He prepared himself well every day, and I think most of us down there that spent time with him learned a lot. Just because he was the same person no matter the outcome of the game.
Those are some of the qualities that manager Ned Yost now gets from Holland, and its why Yost is so confident when the Royals have a lead and Holland enters the game.
The mind-set for me is as soon as we get the last out in the eighth inning, and weve got the lead, I relax, Yost said. ... Im counting outs to get me to Holly. However Ive got to get those outs one out here (from one guy), two outs here (from another guy) Ill do whatever it takes.
One guy who saw this kind of dominance in Holland? Soria, who is now with the Rangers. He said years ago that Holland could close.
I told you, that guy has an amazing talent, Soria said.
In a pinch
David Lough is starting to get the hang of how to approach pinch-hitting duty after going hitless with one walk in his first seven efforts.
Lough delivered an RBI single in last Mondays victory over Cleveland. He then drew a two-out walk Friday in the eighth inning that set up Alcides Escobars game-winning walk in a 2-1 victory over Texas.
Im starting to feel more comfortable every time Im put in that situation, Lough said. Just try to not put too much pressure on myself. Just go out and act like its another at-bat.
Just think like its my fourth at-bat of the night. Its a lot easier said than done, but you cant really think about it. I try not to let the crowd get into it.
That wasnt easy Friday when Lough fell into a 1-2 hole against Rangers reliever Jason Frasor with two outs and runners at second and third.
He has a nasty split-finger (fastball), Lough said. So I just kind of crouched down and tried to put together a good at-bat. Just try to get a good pitch and put it in play. Just do something instead of striking out.
Lough worked back for a walk.
Its a hard job for a young hitter, Yost said. Under these circumstances, its even harder. Hes listening on how to do it and taking it to heart. Youve got to be ready to hit the first fastball thats a strike.
Class AAA Omaha manager Mike Jirschele joined the big-league staff prior to Saturdays game and will serve as co-bench coach for the remainder of the season with Class AA Northwest Arkansas manager Brian Poldberg.
Thats easy, Jirschele said. Polie will do all of the work.
Jirschele, 54, just completed his 11th consecutive season at Omaha by guiding the Storm Chasers to their second Pacific Coast League crown in three seasons.
Omaha then beat Durham (Rays) 2-1 on Tuesday in the Triple-A Championship game in Allentown, Pa. The Storm Chasers reached the PCL playoffs with a 70-74 record before catching fire.
We got hot at the right time, Jirschele said. Youve got to have some luck. Considering we almost didnt get in, to winning everything, its very satisfying. This game is a lot of luck involved.
You can be good, but youve got to be lucky, too.
Clubs are permitted to add one on-field coach in September. The Royals previously added Poldberg, which filled the vacancy created when bench coach Chino Cadahia took a leave of absence for family reasons.
Starter Jeremy Guthrie, who went six innings against the Rangers, is the third Royals starter to pass the 200 innings-pitched mark this year, along with James Shields and Ervin Santana.
Eric Hosmer's home run was No. 50 of his career.
It was four years ago Sunday Sept. 22, 2009 that Zack Greinke solidified his Cy Young candidacy by pitching six shutout innings in a 5-1 victory over Boston at Kauffman Stadium.
Greinke permitted just two hits in improving to 15-8 and lowering his ERA to 2.08. He finished the season at 16-8 and 2.16 and later garnered 25 of 28 first-place votes as a runaway Cy Young winner.
Royals single-season saves leaders
Jeff Montgomery, 1993, 45
Dan Quisenberry, 1983, 45
Greg Holland, 2013, 44
Dan Quisenberry, 1984, 44
Joakim Soria, 2010, 43
Joakim Soria, 2008, 42