Lorenzo Cain hasn’t been much of a power hitter as major-leaguer. His career best for home runs in a season is seven, for doubles 29.
“It’s in there; it just hasn’t come out yet,” Cain said.
There’s been some recent spillage to suggest that Cain could be on the verge a prolonged power surge. How long it lasts is anybody’s guess, but Cain wants to ride it for as long as possible.
He entered Thursday’s series finale against the Brewers having torched his old team.
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In Milwaukee, Cain clubbed his fifth home run of the season on Monday and crushed his sixth on Tuesday.
It marked the second time in his five-year career that Cain had hit home runs on successive days.
When the series returned to Kansas City on Wednesday, Cain missed a third homer in three days by a few feet when his drive passed the pole in left field.
But in the same plate appearance, Cain smoked a triple to left center, and he later added a double.
Toss in the double he hit in the series finale against the Cardinals on Sunday, and Cain was on his best extra-base hit roll. His slugging percentage in the last four games: 1.036.
“I’ve been getting a few more fastballs to hit; that’s always nice,” Cain said. “But I can’t point to one thing, except I’ve had some good swings.
“If I hit 15, 20 or five home runs, it doesn’t matter as long as we’re winning.”
In his first plate appearance on Thursday, Cain took an off-speed pitch from the Brewers’ Jimmy Nelson and drove it the warning track in center field for a sacrifice fly that provided the Royals’ first run.
Royals manager Ned Yost explains it as a hitter who isn’t power hungry, and that’s working for Cain.
“The thing he really focuses on as a hitter is he wants to use the whole field,” Yost said. “He’s not up there looking for a pitch he can hit for a home run.”
Cain brought an eight-game hitting streak and .291 batting average into Thursday, and he’s on a pace for 17 home runs and 82 RBIs. He’s continuing the pace he set during the last year’s playoffs, when he hit .333, including a .533 clip against the Orioles that earned him the American League Championship Series MVP.
Cain didn’t hit a home run during the postseason, but he’s going deep now at a greater pace than at any time in his career. Add that power and his overall hitting approach to his defensive strength, and it’s easy to explain his popularity with Royals fans, which accounts for him being the top vote-getter among outfielders on the American League All-Star ballot. He’s one of eight Royals voting who lead at their position in the balloting.
“Our fans are getting out and voting, obviously more than other fans, I’m definitely loving that,” Cain said. “We have a lot of guys who definitely deserve it.”