There was some debate about what fueled the surge that saw the Royals finish August with a 20-9 record.
Was it the so-called Rally Mantis or the return of Lorenzo Cain?
Cain returned to the Royals on July 29 after missing 25 games because of a strained left hamstring. The Royals caught fire not long after Cain was back in the lineup.
From Aug. 2 to Aug. 30, Cain batted .303 with seven doubles, a triple, one homer, 16 RBIs and 15 runs scored in 26 games. The Royals went 18-8 in that span.
The Royals’ express has since slowed while Cain has again been out of action.
Cain missed Saturday’s game against the Detroit Tigers, his third straight contest out of the starting lineup, while dealing with a nagging wrist injury. Royals manager Ned Yost said that Cain has made progress — he couldn’t close his fist on Friday, but was able to do it on Saturday.
“He got a (cortisone) shot Tuesday night, sat out Wednesday and the off day Thursday,” Yost said before Saturday’s game. “It’s just taken a little bit of time. We’ll look at it tomorrow and see where we’re at. He’s made really good progress every day, so he’s better today than he was yesterday and he was better yesterday than he was the day before. We’re just trying to get it back to where it’s playable.”
Yost said there wasn’t a specific moment in Cain’s last game (on Aug. 30) that triggered the injury.
“He hasn’t reaggravated it,” Yost said. “He was reaggravating it three or four times a night. It just got to the point where he’s trying to battle through it and could. But let’s just try to see if we can knock out some of that inflammation and make it a little bit easier on him.”
When Cain returns to the lineup, he won’t be 100 percent healed, Yost said.
“You’re not going to knock it out,” Yost said. “You just want to get it to where it’s playable. It’s going to take a month after the season until it’s gone.”
The great KC earthquake
There was some buzz in the Royals’ clubhouse before the game as the players talked about the earthquake that had an epicenter near Pawnee, Okla.
The quake was felt in Kansas City shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, but not by all of the Royals. Some enjoyed a peaceful slumber. The earthquake registered a magnitude of 5.6, which tied for the biggest in Oklahoma history.
“I slept right through it,” Yost said. “My son felt it. He said, ‘Dad, did you feel the earthquake?’ I said, ‘What, are you nuts? They don’t have earthquakes in Kansas City.’ They did.”
Rookie Hunter Dozier was briefly awakened at his hotel in downtown Kansas City. He felt the building sway a bit, but he thought it was the wind.
“I’m not sure I’ve felt one before, but I felt that one this morning,” said Dozier, who grew up in Texas.
Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff. Download True Blue, The Star’s free Royals app, here.