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Oct. 24 Yost pregame interview


NED YOST: What we're going to do today is we've made a couple adjustments. We're going to lead Esky off, Alex Gordon will hit second, Cain will hit third, Hosmer fourth, Moustakas fifth, Infante sixth, Perez seventh, Dyson eighth, and Guthrie ninth.


NED YOST: What we're going to do today is we've made a couple adjustments. We're going to lead Esky off, Alex Gordon will hit second, Cain will hit third, Hosmer fourth, Moustakas fifth, Infante sixth, Perez seventh, Dyson eighth, and Guthrie ninth.

Q. Could you go over the changes you made and tell us why, please?

NED YOST: The changes?

Q. Well, you scrambled it up pretty good.

NED YOST: We didn't scramble it up. I mean, we did, but it was out of necessity. With this vast outfield, we knew that we had to put our best defense out there. So that took Nori out of the 2 hole. We had to find a guy to put into the 2 hole. We put Alex in there because of the speed of Dyson at the bottom of the order, the speed with Escobar at the top of the order, Alex might get a few more fastballs to hit, and we liked Alex in that spot.

Cain's been doing fine in the 3.

We moved Moose up because he's really swinging the bat well right now, for a little extra protection for Hoz. And Omar's been swinging the bat better here, a little more protection for Moose.

Of course, Dyson in the 8 hole.

Q. Did you think a lot about the lefty‑lefty with Hoz and Moose, and not breaking that up a little bit?

NED YOST: I didn't think much about it because both of them are swinging the bat well against left‑handed and right‑handed pitching right now.

Q. On the lineup question, Herrera, being as young as he is and having that electric fastball, can you talk about how he's been able to keep his composure in those high‑leverage situations and command that electric stuff he has?

NED YOST: Well, he's been in the Big Leagues now, this is his third year. So he's got a lot of confidence in his ability, one. He really has a lot of confidence in his fastball.

Two years ago he had a year like this. I mean, he was dynamite. Last year, started the year, started off with a lot of confidence, but something happened to him that's never happened to him before in his career ‑ he started giving up some home runs, and he gave up like four or five in a really short period of time. He bounced back from that finally about the second half of the year, but he's come into this year right back to where he was two years ago: Full of confidence, commanding his fastball, his changeup has gotten more consistent, and he's incorporating his curveball a little bit more, too, which makes him even that much more effective.

Q. Everybody's been shortening up their starting pitching. How well does a starter have to be going to make it through the sixth inning?

NED YOST: It depends. What is the score? The score dictates everything, really, for me. If our starter is into the sixth inning, he's pitching pretty well. Now it depends on the score. If we have a two‑ or three‑ or even a four‑run lead, you can build in a little more leeway before you're going to actually take some action and make a move. In a one‑run game, you've got to work quicker, depending on how he's throwing and how he's feeling. But the sixth inning, we feel like if we can get to the sixth inning, tied or with the lead, we can mix and match to get us to our main guys in the back end, which are pretty potent.

Q. You mentioned the defensive changes you made out of the necessity here at AT&T. Is that for all three games here or just day‑to‑day?

NED YOST: Right now we're just working on today. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. With three games in a row, does that affect at all how you would use specifically those three relievers, Herrera, Davis, Holland?

NED YOST: Absolutely, it does. Yeah, it absolutely does. You want to have, if at all possible, all three guys available for this three‑game set. So we're going to probably mix and match the sixth a little bit differently than we did with guys having five days' rest and an off‑day the next day. That incorporates Finnegan a little bit more. It incorporates Collins a little bit more. It incorporates Frasor a little bit more.

But, again, we'll see where we're at. But if I have to use Kelvin Herrera for a five‑out appearance, the odds of him being available tomorrow just lessened by a whole lot. You've got to kind of pick your poison.

Q. How did Duffy bounce back from that outing in Game 1?


Q. Do you have him tonight as well?

NED YOST: I do. Danny will be available tonight, in a shorter stint tomorrow. If we can get through today and don't need him, he'll be available for a longer stint tomorrow and be back in good shape after that.

Q. What about Alex? A little bit moving him up just maybe to shake him out of the slump he's been in so far during the playoffs?

NED YOST: No. No. What we're trying to do is trying to get him more fastballs to hit. With Escobar leading off, got speed. Dyson at the bottom of the order, got speed. You've got those guys on base, you might ‑‑ pitchers tend to, I'm not saying Hudson's going to do it, but pitchers tend to throw more fastballs in those situations to give your catcher an opportunity, in case they run. Alex is a really good fastball hitter.

Q. Back in Kansas City you were talking about how this is an American League‑style team and it can play a National League‑style team. But for the manager is this kind of fun because you've got Billy on the bench, you've got still Terrance, you've got a lot of different weapons. It's kind of the ultimate chess game for Game 3?

NED YOST: I wouldn't call it "the ultimate chess game," but we've got some good weapons on the bench. We've got Nori on the bench from the left side, we've got Willingham, we've got Billy. We can pinch‑run Gore. We do have some options to help us win a ballgame late.

Q. I'm not sure if you answered this question, so if you did, you can bypass it: But with Hudson on the mound, he's got a bit of a slow delivery; are we going to see the running Royals again?

NED YOST: First thing we've got to do is get on base. That is the first thing that we have to do. But, again, we just don't get on base and take off. We're real opportunistic when we steal bases. We look for instances that are going to favor us stealing that base. Guys that are a little bit slower, guys that are 1.3, 1.4, we open it up, we open it up. We open it up a lot more because that gives us more of an opportunity to steal a base against a guy that has a 1.1, or a 1.2. Especially Posey throws well back there.

Guys always talk about the catcher, it's really the pitcher that you're stealing on. If the pitcher's a little bit slow to the plate, that's where you get your jump. You combine a 1.3 or 1.4 with a breaking ball in there, that increases your odds.

So we'll get on base, and we'll look and we're going to try to be as aggressive as we possibly can on those bases.

Q. How do you prepare, aside from the vastness of the park, how do you prepare for the sun, shadows? And has your team played 5:00 games with these conditions before?

NED YOST: Yeah, we've played day games in Oakland. It's a tough sun field, too, especially in left and center. We worked out yesterday here. We tried to push it back as late as we could to 5:00, and ended up getting off the field about 4:30 because the Giants were going to take the field at 5:00. Yesterday's workout was good for us.

In our ballpark when we play those early games, it's not the sun as much as it is the glare off the backdrop to see for the hitters. But yesterday all through BP nobody really had a big issue with that. I did watch the outfielders fight some sun balls out there, but they're all pretty good at catching them.

Q. Tomorrow's starter Jason Vargas has had two good postseason season starts. What have you seen from him?

NED YOST: What are we talking about, Guthrie or Vargas?

Q. Vargas, tomorrow's start.

NED YOST: No, yeah, he's had two great starts. He was a guy that was consistent for us all year. Struggled a little bit his last three or four starts in September, but, again, a lot of that was mechanical, and he's made the adjustment. Had a great start against Anaheim. Had a great start against Baltimore, and we look for him to do the same tomorrow.

Q. What do you expect if Aoki has a chance to play in this game?

NED YOST: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Nori's a guy like Billy. These games have always been, for the most part, we always anticipate them being close games, and we anticipate guys coming off the bench. Billy and Nori late in the game to provide some offense for us off the bench.

Just because you're not starting a game in a National League game doesn't mean you're not going to have an impact to win the game. A lot of times you'll be put into a crucial situation where your one at‑bat could win the game for your team.

Nori's going to be ready, Billy's going to be ready to see if they can't make that happen.

Kansas City Royals