Opinion

Manager Ned Yost tinkers with Royals lineup, batting Ben Zobrist second and Mike Moustakas sixth

The Royals’ Ben Zobrist (right) slapped hands with third base coach Mike Jirschele after hitting a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.
The Royals’ Ben Zobrist (right) slapped hands with third base coach Mike Jirschele after hitting a home run against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday. The Canadian Press via AP

Royals manager Ned Yost dislikes tinkering with his lineup, fearful that sudden changes will make his players uncomfortable. But he made a significant switch for Tuesday’s batting order against the Tigers, moving new addition Ben Zobrist into the No. 2 spot and dropping Mike Moustakas to the No. 6 spot.

“I liked the way it looked, a little bit,” Yost said.

Moustakas excelled as the No. 2 hitter through the first half of the season. But he has slumped in recent weeks and become more reliant on pulling the baseball. From July 1 through Aug. 1, Moustakas hit .188 with a .584 on-base plus slugging percentage. He entered Tuesday with a .343 on-base percentage for the season.

Zobrist has a .355 OBP, and is also a switch hitter. He played well in that spot during the last two games of the weekend series against Toronto, when Moustakas sat out. Zobrist hit two homers on Saturday and added a two-run shot on Sunday.

“He gives you good, professional at-bats,” Yost said. “He’s got a good idea of what he’s trying to do up there. He goes about the situation with what’s needed. He’s got a really good insight on what we need at the time, and he goes out and tries to accomplish it.”

To reach Andy McCullough, call 816-234-4730 or send email to rmccullough@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @McCulloughStar. Download True Blue, The Star’s free Royals app, here.

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