In his attempt to spread the blame after Tuesday’s loss, Royals manager Ned Yost pointed toward a slumping offense. More specifically, he identified a lineup that has wasted its opportunities to drive in runs.
Translation: The line ain’t moving.
The Royals’ lackluster offensive outputs can be largely — and quite nearly exclusively — attributed to their ineffectiveness with runners in scoring position. They are last in baseball in the category, batting just .149 with a runner on second, third or both. That’s 28 points worse than the 29th-place team, the San Diego Padres, entering play Wednesday.
Asked if players were pressing in such situations, Yost responded, “I’m sure they are a little bit because we’ve been so bad at it.
“Guys that care a lot —guys that have high expectations to win — it’s hard not to (press).”
As a team, the Royals were sixth in baseball in the same category last season, batting .273. They were second in 2015 and fourth in 2014.
As much as it was a key to the success of the last three seasons, it’s equally a detriment to 2017.
Lorenzo Cain is 5 for 9 with runners in scoring position (.556 average), and Alcides Escobar is 2 for 6 (.333). No other player on the team is batting better than .250. Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez are a combined 3 for 25.
“What solves all that is just one big hit, and then all of a sudden everybody relaxes,” Yost said. “And then, here we go.”