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Kansas City Royals: Can Ned Yost Pull Team Out Of Tailspin

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Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost has seen teams he managed get caught in late-season swoons before. With the Brewers, Yost presided over two 11th hour nose-dives that he could not correct. Can Ned Yost pull off in Kansas City what he twice failed to do in Milwaukee?

The fate of the 2015 KC Royals could depend on the answer.

The Kansas City Royals are now 5-10 in September, and have lost 12 of their last 17 games since hitting a season-high 31 games over .500 on August 29.

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The starting pitching has been awful with a 6.25 ERA in September. The relievers haven’t been much better with a 5.57 ERA. The KC Royals offense has also been inconsistent. While their runs per game are a deceptive 5.13 in September, the Kansas City Royals scored 49 runs in four games. In the other 11 September games, the KC Royals offense has produced a mere 28 runs (2.54 runs per game).

A schizophrenic offense just doesn’t cut it.

The only part of the team that continues to play well is the defense, which has been overwhelmed with bad pitching and the mostly-bad offense.

The September swoon has turned a comfortable seven game lead over the Blue Jays for the American League’s best record into a narrow two-game edge. Despite the Kansas City Royals nosedive, however, they still hold a 10-game lead over the Twins in the A.L. Central.

Even so, the KC Royals need to hold off the Blue Jays for home-field advantage through the playoffs, since Toronto’s Rogers Centre is a nightmare for the KC offense. The Kansas City Royals want the path to the A.L. pennant to go through Kansas City rather than east coast bandboxes like Toronto and New York.

As I mentioned above, manager Ned Yost twice watched the Milwaukee Brewers wilt down the stretch. In 2007, the Brewers blew a 10.5 game lead to finish 83-79 and miss the playoffs. In 2008, the Brewers suffered through a 3-10 stretch after an 80-56 start. The Brewers fired Yost with a 83-67 record, and 12 games remaining in the 2008 season, in favor of Dale Sveum—who is currently the Kansas City Royals batting coach.

Don’t expect KC Royals GM Dayton Moore to pull the plug on Yost this time. Unlike in 2008, Ned Yost now has a track record of post-season success after KC’s 11-4 run through the 2014 playoffs. While the Kansas City Royals fell just short in game seven of the 2014 World Series, Yost did guide his team to the A.L. pennant.

For better or worse, Ned Yost is the captain of the KC Royals ship in 2015.

Ned Yost did tell the media last season that he is now a much different manager than he was in 2008. Before the 2014 World Series, Yost told reporters:

"“Completely different, I think,” said Yost on Monday. “I’ve learned to let my players be themselves. I’m every bit as patient as I was back then. I think I’m also, because I have great coaches, I think I listen a lot more than I did back then. I’m pretty hard‑headed, a little more flexible, and use the tremendous experience we have in our coaching staff to my benefit and our benefit.”"

Whether those differences will help Yost pull his team out of a late swoon, after failing twice before, remains to be seen.

Admittedly, Ned Yost doesn’t hit or pitch. His players have to get the job done. Yet, it is the mental aspects of dealing with a slump, and the sudden pressure of needing to hold off the Blue Jays, where a manager makes his bones.

If the Kansas City Royals funk continues, you have to wonder if Ned Yost has a difficult time in this area.

Next: Alex Rios Is Playing Himself Into The Playoff Picture

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