Before he brushes his teeth in the morning these days, Royals manager Ned Yost reminds himself of one thing.
“Before I even get out of bed, I tell myself, ‘Let’s have fun today,’” Yost said. “Remember where you’re at, and let’s have fun.”
These are the best of times for Yost, in his fifth season in the Royals’ dugout. He’s the first manager to lead the franchise the postseason since Dick Howser managed the 1985 World Series championship team.
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Yost owns his share of rings as a member of the Atlanta Braves’ staffs from 1991 through 2002, but his first managerial tenure in Milwaukee ended two weeks before the end of the 2008 regular season with the Brewers losing ground in the playoff chase.
The Brewers made the postseason with Dale Sveum, now with Royals, replacing Yost. That makes this playoff run Yost’s first as a manager, and he’s made sure to relish every moment. It would be hard not to, with the Royals’ thrilling Wild Card Game victory over the A’s and the sweep of the Angels in an American League Division Series.
Next up, game one of the AL Championship Series against the Orioles on Friday (7:07 p.m. on TBS).
“You can get overwhelmed because of the importance of it, the excitement of it, and you have to stop yourself every day and remind yourself this is fun, this is a blast, this is what you worked hard for your whole life and what the players have worked for their whole lives. So enjoy it.”
The Royals have tentatively named James Shields and Yordano Ventura their starting pitchers for the first two games in Baltimore. The Orioles have named …
Nobody, not as of Wednesday afternoon.
In their ALDS sweep of the Tigers, the Orioles went with Chris Tillman in game one, then Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris in the next two games. Tillman and Norris collected victories. Brad Brach picked up the game two victory in relief.
Speculation has Tillman starting in Friday’s opener. He pitched one of the best games of his career against the Royals this season, a five-hit shutout at Kauffman Stadium on May 16.