Tag: Ned Yost

Ned Yost, Dayton Moore Agree to Contract Extensions: Latest Details, Reaction

The Kansas City Royals locked up two key leaders in their organization Thursday, announcing contract extensions for manager Ned Yost and executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Dayton Moore.

Andrew Simon reported the news for the Royals’ official website, indicating that the length of Moore’s new deal isn’t yet known, but that Yost’s extension goes through the 2018 season.

Royals president Dan Glass commented on the decision to extend Moore, via the news release:

You can’t find an individual with a stronger work ethic or dedication to his craft than Dayton Moore. He possesses all of the qualities you look for starting with his leadership, to organizational vision and tireless dedication to the position. Dayton also possesses the ability to get everyone working toward the same common goal, which is to strive daily to make this organization better.

Moore has done a tremendous job constructing a championship roster for the Royals, who appeared in the past two World Series and hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy this past year. He has been in Kansas City’s front office since 2006 and has cemented an indefinite tenure.

“It’s a privilege to continue to represent the Glass family, our organization and the great fans as the general manager of the Kansas City Royals,” said Moore, via Simon. “I’m proud of the culture and it’s an honor to work alongside so many talented and dedicated people within this organization.”

But Yost was the clubhouse catalyst who helped the Royals take the next step. The skipper shepherded a burgeoning young core into a juggernaut contender.

The duration of Yost’s new deal is in line with how long he believes Kansas City can remain a factor in the Fall Classic picture.

“You work so hard as a group to develop a winner, and it’s hard to leave while they still have an opportunity to win,” Yost said, via the Kansas City Star‘s Rustin Dodd. “We feel like we’ve got that opportunity [to win] for the next three years.”

ESPN Stats & Info highlighted how magnificent Yost has been when it counts most:

“We are extremely delighted that Ned will remain our manager through at least the 2018 championship season,” Moore said of Yost, via Simon. “It’s an absolute joy and honor to work alongside him.”

Part of the reason Moore’s vision for the club came to fruition in the form of a World Series crown was his patience with Yost, whose time in the Kansas City dugout began with three losing seasons. 

Instead of making a rash decision to fire him based on the lack of bottom-line results, Moore stuck with a manager who hadn’t made the playoffs in six prior years with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Their partnership has appropriately been extended at the same time, presenting an exemplary, unified front for the reigning World Series champions.

Although Moore and Co. weren’t able to retain marquee starting pitcher Johnny Cueto in free agency, Kansas City still has much of its nucleus intact. That should help its efforts to guard the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2016, though Odds Shark lists the Royals with 16-1 odds to do so, behind six other clubs.

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MLB Playoffs: Managers Who Will Be Feeling Pressure in October

Having a great manager doesn’t guarantee postseason success.

Games are still won on the field, but managers are tasked with putting players in the best position to succeed.

Bruce Bochy didn’t have a ton of success before joining the San Francisco Giants in 2007. Before arriving in San Francisco, Bochy managed the San Diego Padres for 12 seasons. 

His regular-season record was below .500, and he couldn’t guide the Padres past the National League Division Series. In four postseason appearances, Bochy’s club was 8-16, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

The Giants didn’t make the playoffs in the first three seasons under Bochy but qualified in 2010 and turned into a dynasty. The team won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Bochy’s decision to pull Tim Hudson in the fifth inning of Game 7 and bring in Madison Bumgarner is the perfect example of a manager pulling the right strings and putting his club in the best position to win a championship.

Here are five managers who will feel pressure to step up as a tactician and help guide his team to a World Series championship.

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Scott Miller’s Starting 9: Star Power, Rebuilt Rosters Make NL West Must-See TV

1. NL West: Change, Money and Bubble Gum

One week in, and you know what’s more fun than Furious 7 meets Coachella?

The National League West.

Grab a fistful of Dubble Bubble, because that’s the first checkpoint for a summer of bubble-blowing good times: Padres home opener Thursday, ninth inning, Giants center fielder Angel Pagan at the plate and suddenly he and San Diego catcher Derek Norris are jawing and must be separated.

The occasion?

Pagan flipped a wad of chewed bubble gum at Norris, who immediately took offense.

Pagan pleaded that he meant to toss it further, but the wad stuck to the pine tar on his glove and stunted his throw.

Norris went ballistic because, well, as he told reporters afterward, “I don’t come into center field and throw gum at him when he’s playing defense.”

Great point.

Chomp, chomp.   

The Padres, for the first time in a decade, are actually trying.

The Dodgers, after two seasons of 90-plus wins and a postseason in which Clayton Kershaw still failed to get them to their first World Series since 1988, are rebooting.

The Giants are hurting.

The Diamondbacks rebuilt their front office with new baseball ops guru (and Hall of Famer) Tony La Russa and new general manager Dave Stewart.

And the Rockies, who ever knows what they’re up to?

“We know what the vision is,” new Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins says. “The guys who were brought in here, we know why we were brought in.”

New Dodgers baseball operations boss Andrew Friedman, special assistant Josh Byrnes (the deposed Padres GM) and GM Farhan Zaidi completed 10 trades in 25 days in December. They completely rebuilt up the middle with Rollins, second baseman Howie Kendrick, rookie center fielder Joc Pederson and catcher Yasmani Grandal.

“I knew we had talented players,” Rollins says. “But we have a good team.”

That’s what the Padres think, too—of themselves. Their winter made the Dodgers look like they were standing pat, and new GM A.J. Preller carried it right up to Opening Day eve, when he acquired the game’s best closer, Craig Kimbrel, in what otherwise was an exchange of bad contracts. The Padres got the Artist Formerly Known at B.J. Upton (he’s Melvin now), and they unloaded outfielder Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin.

So add Kimbrel to Norris, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks and James Shields in what might be the most stunning and dizzying offseason that one club has ever had.

“The vibe is completely different,” says starter Ian Kennedy, who strained a hamstring in his first start of the season on Thursday and now is on the disabled list. “You have these high-profile guys that people know. A lot of people didn’t know Padres players before.”

Not even the folks running the witness protection program.

“Our pitching staff was so under the radar, but we had the second-best ERA in the National League last year,” Kennedy continues, accurately speaking of the 3.27 ERA the ’14 Padres produced. “You get Kemp, who’s been on national TV so often and is an all-time Dodger, Justin Upton, an All-Star, Wil Myers, who is supposed to be a superstar player like Mike Trout, Norris…all of these people have been to the playoffs.

“The vibe, everybody is excited.”

Including fans who have leaped off the bandwagon by the thousands in recent years as previous ownerships alienated them. The four-game series against the Giants just completed set a Petco Park attendance record of 168,181, and the new Padres surely won some more hearts.

Though he hasn’t homered yet, Kemp is off to a roaring start at .367/.406/.533 through Sunday with three doubles and a triple. He pumped his fists and emitted a primal scream following a key triple Sunday—that burst of joy/enthusiasm could be the poster moment of the first week.

“I feel better now than I felt in the second half last year,” Kemp told Bleacher Report in the final days of spring camp. He batted .309/.365/.606 with 17 homers and 54 RBI in the second half last year in looking like the old Matt Kemp before significant shoulder and ankle surgeries.

“My legs weren’t all the way under me, as far as being able to run the way I wanted to run,” Kemp continued. “Now, I’ll be able to do some things I couldn’t do. People don’t understand: Microfracture surgery is pretty serious.”

Then there are the Giants, who you might recall have won three World Series titles in five seasons and have no plans to surrender despite their recent track record of odd-year disappointments and a stunning array of injuries.

Right-hander Matt Cain (flexor strain, right forearm) is out for several weeks, an early blow the Giants did not see coming. Outfielder Hunter Pence (broken arm) won’t return until May. First baseman Brandon Belt missed most of the first week with a groin strain. Manager Bruce Bochy was forced to juggle his rotation when right-hander Jake Peavy‘s lower back locked up.

“It’s been one thing after another since we started spring training,” Peavy says. “That being said, it’s early and we’re going to hold the fort down. It’s the Next Man Up mentality.

“This team has a quiet confidence. Hopefully, we find and create some depth out of this situation.

“But there ain’t no way these teams (Dodgers and Padres) ain’t panning out. Both have a lot of talent. Both have a lot of exposure. We’re not banking on these teams not jelling. We expect the Dodgers to be a great team, as always, and we expect the Padres to be good.

“But this group of guys we have knows how to compete, and we expect to.”

In the season’s first six days, the Padres’ Shields outpitched both the Dodgers’ Kershaw and the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner.

So pass the bubble gum, and settle in. This summer more than any other, you never know what’s coming next in the NL West.


2. Jackie Robinson Day: Stand and Salute

You can make an argument—and I will, every year—that the way baseball blows out Jackie Robinson Day is one of the game’s finest moments.

Former commissioner Bud Selig spoke often of the game’s responsibility as a social institution, and those roots trace back to the Dodgers, Branch Rickey and Robinson smashing the color barrier on April 15, 1947.

That moment, incredibly, came 17 years before the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It banned racial segregation in the schools, the workplace and the voting booths.

That baseball was so far ahead of the rest of the country absolutely is worth remembering and celebrating. Especially now, with a steady string of sickening moments—Sanford, Florida; Ferguson, Missouri; New York; South Carolina—that suggest we’re still not where we should be in this country.

So MLB will hold Jackie Robinson Day on Wednesday, and players throughout the game will wear No. 42 in his honor. The official celebration will take place in Dodger Stadium with the Civil Rights Game between the Mariners and Dodgers. Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Don Newcombe, a former teammate of Jackie’s, and Joni Campanella, daughter of the late Dodgers’ catcher Roy Campanella, will participate too.

Players wearing No. 42 traces back to 2007—the brilliant idea of Ken Griffey Jr. It’s true. Griffey that year asked Selig if it would be OK to wear No. 42 in tribute on Jackie Robinson Day, and when Selig said he would bring the idea to Rachel Robinson, Griffey asked if he could make that call himself.

In the end, Selig loved the idea so much he asked Griffey whether he would mind if baseball expanded that idea to every player.

Now, Griffey has another idea that would build upon Jackie Robinson Day.

“I look at guys who have done so much, and not only for baseball. The next one I’d like to see is Roberto Clemente, everyone wear No. 21,” Griffey told me when we spoke this winter, referring to the former Pirates outfielder who was the first Latin American and Caribbean player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Clemente was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972, while en route to delivering aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Baseball already presents the Roberto Clemente Award at the end of each season to an elite player who also is personally involved with community work, an honor that dates back to 1973.

“I understand we give an award at the end of the year, but maybe if we do it on [Roberto Clemente Day], and honor the things that he did for other people, the things that they all went through,” Griffey continued. “It could be on the last day of the season because that was the last day he played.

“As a baseball player, we look forward to those types of celebrations. Whether it’s wearing a throwback uniform for the Mariners, or whatever, we look forward to being able to wear uniforms of certain guys who mean so much to the organization. It’s a lot of fun to be able to do that and celebrate them.”


3. The Angels Should Be Ashamed

If Angry Arte Moreno, owner of the Los Angeles Angels of We Should Be Embarrassed, insists on blaming someone for the current Josh Hamilton mess, he should look in the mirror.

It was Moreno who signed Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million deal even amateur armchair GMs could have told you would be a horrendous contract.

Nobody could have predicted that Hamilton would descend back into the hell of cocaine, as he reportedly did, according to the New York Daily News, but the possibilities were there. The entire world knew of his history of addiction. Age 31 when he signed the deal, Hamilton also had a tremendous amount of wear and tear on his body.

This was a high-risk deal from Day 1. And now that the Angels have been burned with two years of underperformance followed by the reported cocaine relapse, for them to take the public offensive against Hamilton is outrageous. This is a guy who clearly needs help, and that phony family atmosphere the organization promotes has never looked so inauthentic.

“It defies logic that Josh’s reported behavior is not a violation of his drug program,” read a statement attributed to club president John Carpino.

“The Angels have serious concerns about Josh’s conduct, health and behavior, and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans,” read a statement attributed to GM Jerry Dipoto.

Both clearly were serving as henchmen for Moreno, who stayed in the shadows until Friday, when he said he couldn’t guarantee Hamilton would play for the Angels again.

It is difficult to imagine the Angels being an attractive destination for future free agents when the team is so quick to trash the ones who disappoint.


4. Phillies Closer: Baby sitter Needed

Three years into a four-year, $50 million deal, Philadelphia closer Jonathan Papelbon continues to take his employers’ millions with little investment of his own.

“I don’t really feel much like a Phillie,” Papelbon told Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe last week.

And: “What is a Phillie? A horse? That’s what it is? I feel like a horse.”

It’s tempting to say Papelbon should be seen and not heard. Yet that’s dangerous, too: It was last September when he grabbed his crotch in the direction of Philadelphia fans.

Of course, their ungrateful closer isn’t the only thing the Phillies have to worry about. Heading into this week, first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley were a combined 5-for-39 (.128) with 13 strikeouts.


5. Never Dull with Yankees and Red Sox

When the Yankees scored seven times in the first inning against Boston Sunday night, it was the first time the Yanks scored seven or more first-inning runs against the Red Sox since Aug. 15, 1954, when Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra were in the lineup and Tom Brewer started for the Red Sox, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

And in Friday night’s 19-inning, 6-5 Boston win, the two teams combined to use 17 pitchers and throw 627 pitches.

Every player on Boston’s 25-man roster played except infielder Brock Holt and starting pitchers Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Justin Masterson.

The Yankees used 21 of their 25-man roster, everybody except CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka and Adam Warren.


6. Springer’s Got Some Springs

If you missed Houston right fielder George Springer’s sensational catch against the Rangers on Sunday, you can fix that mistake right now.


7. Weekly Power Rankings

1. Home Openers: Ah, the promise of warm weather and summer vacations. A promise no other sport can make.

2. Tigers: Undefeated Tabbies (heading into the week) savage Minnesota and Cleveland to tune of MLB-best plus-31 run differential. Did someone say 1984?

3. Royals: Quick, start the stopwatch to see which is quicker—center fielder Lorenzo Cain chasing down fly balls or frisky starter Yordano Ventura’s mouth chasing down Mike Trout.

4. Stanozolol: The old-school steroid of choice makes a comeback, knocking out Jenrry Mejia (Mets), Ervin Santana (Twins), David Rollins (Mariners) and Arodys Vizcaino (Braves) for 80 games each.

5. Cubs bathrooms: After Opening Night debacle, the team brings in 72 portable toilets. And still no Kris Bryant.


 8. Superhuman Player of the Week

Yes, the Tigers finally lost Monday. But that won’t happen often if this continues:


9. How Do You Like Ned Yost’s Managing Now?

Look at these Royals go:


9a. Rock ‘n’ Roll Lyric of the Week

Happy Jackie Robinson Day….

“We’ll walk hand in hand
“We’ll walk hand in hand
“We’ll walk hand in hand, someday
“Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe
“We shall overcome, someday”

— Pete Seeger, We Shall Overcome


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. 

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Ned Yost, Royals Agree to New Contract: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

After managing the Kansas City Royals to their first American League pennant in nearly three decades, Ned Yost has been rewarded with a one-year contract extension.    

The team announced the news on Twitter:

Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star provided further information about the 60-year-old’s long-term future with the team:

Yost has long been criticized for his questionable in-game decisions and strategies, but the results he got from a young club in 2014 were undeniably impressive. Taking a team that was 19th in the majors in Opening Day payroll, Yost led the Royals to an 89-73 record and the team’s first postseason appearance since 1985. 

Once in the playoffs, he utilized his team’s speed with aggressive calls on the basepaths to defeat the Oakland A’s in the AL Wild Card Game, sweep the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles before falling in seven games to San Francisco Giants in the Fall Classic. 

He finished third AL Manager of the Year voting. 

Yost’s managing style—his propensity to have his team lay down sacrifice bunts, in particularwill likely continue to draw criticism.

For now, though, that doesn’t matter. He has the job security to keep managing however he wants.

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2014 ALCS: Showalter’s Skill Means Rainout Helps Orioles More Than Royals

It rained all day yesterday in Kansas City, so much that Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the Royals and Orioles was postponed.  The rainout gives both teams an extra day of rest, but which team does the rainout help most?

The Royals won the first two games of the series, both close games played in Baltimore, but I think the rainout actually helps the Orioles more than it does the Royals.

Up 2-0 as the series moves back to Kansas City, the Royals have all of the momentum.  They have not lost a game yet this postseason and seem to be a team of destiny at this point.  The Orioles, on the other hand, are on the brink of having their season end soon.

There have been only three teams in MLB history that have come back from a 2-0 hole to win a League Championship Series.  And all three of those lost the first two games on the road and were able to regroup as the series came back to their home turf.

The Orioles, however, lost two consecutive games at Camden Yards and will have to scratch and claw to prolong the series past the minimum four games.

So the day off presumably takes some of the momentum away from the Royals, thus evening the teams a bit.

It’s not just for momentum purposes, though; it’s also the men calling the shots.  Buck Showalter is revered as one of the game’s best managers, while you would be hard-pressed to find someone who disagrees that the Royals have won in spite of Ned Yost, not because of him.

The day off gives both managers the opportunity to reshuffle their pitching staffs as they see fit.  The Orioles can bring back Chris Tillman on regular rest, and the Royals can start James Shields if they choose. 

The O’s need a win in Tuesday’s Game 3, so it would be sensible to put their best pitcher on the hill with their backs against the wall.  For the Royals, it’s a bit different.

Do they want to have Shields pitch against the opposing ace or save him to pitch against the O’s No. 2 starter?  Do they really want to use Shields again this early in the series, or give him a little extra rest so he’s ready to go if the series gets closer?

Those are all questions that Yost can ponder with the extra day off, but Showalter can as well.  It seems like the tide has to turn sometime, and maybe the Orioles will catch a break or two. 

The rainout basically adds up to an extra day of rest to allow both pitching staffs to refuel.  If the series goes six or seven games, whoever handles the pitching staff best will have the advantage. 

If history is any indication, the Orioles are better suited in that department; thus, they are going to benefit more from this rainout.  Give a mad scientist like Showalter an extra day to contemplate future moves, and the results have a good chance of improving.

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5 Reasons Ned Yost Is the Manager to Lead the KC Royals to a Winning Season

Since becoming manager, all Ned Yost has done is make the Kansas City Royals better. Whether it’s through certain players, the bullpen or just winning more games, they’ve continuously improved.

In 2012, the Royals found themselves with their best finish in years, sitting pretty at third in the American League Central.

With the future possibly on the line, do the Royals stick with Yost or find someone more suited to take this team to the top?

Trust me on this one: The answer is Yost.

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Royal’s Recall: Recapping The A’s Series, Previewing The Toronto Series

I felt ashamed at the Royals this weekend. Maybe it was because I was out of town and they missed their biggest fan, that’s why they sucked.

Maybe it’s because Oakland just recently gained permission from the MLB to use steroids, so the Royals had no chance due to unfair advantages.

No, the playing field was level; there was one difference between the two teams.

Oakland came to play and wanted it more. 

It was so obvious in all of the games. The lack of interest by the Royals made me sick to my stomach. Only Ned Yost was involved in the games, but he needs his players to do the same too.

Yost is obviously displeased with his team’s recent lackluster performance, and addressed them about it after Sunday’s horrendous loss. Both Jason Kendall and Mitch Maier spoke to the press about Yost’s address to them, and the team meeting they had afterwards.

Maier said that Yost was right and that six games was enough. It needs to stop.

Kendall agreed with Maier saying that the Royals played “terrible from top to bottom.”

Friday night, the Royals were fresh off of a sweep by Chicago after winning four of their last series. Greinke was back on the mound after missing his scheduled start Sunday due to shoulder soreness.

He insists that his shoulder is fine, but after watching him pitch Friday I’m not sure. He gave up five runs in six innings as the boys in blue lost 5-1.

We wasted a golden opportunity in the third with bases loaded and no outs, but once again we failed to be clutch. 

I guess one good thing that came from this game was that the bullpen pitched three scoreless innings in the seventh, eighth and ninth, something we really could have used at the beginning of the season. 

We lost Friday in a game we never had a chance in, we lost Saturday in a game we should have won. This game made me think that our four-game streak was over. Obviously it wasn’t.

We took an early lead going up 5-3 going into the third. That was erased when Oakland cut the deficit to 1 in the sixth, then tied it in the seventh.

The Royals then decided to be the Royals as they blew a golden opportunity to take the lead again with the bases loaded in the seventh.

Tied 5-5 going into the ninth, I saw something you only see once in a blue moon. Soria gave up a double and a single to give Oakland the 6-5 lead in the ninth, which would end up being the final score. 

I understand that Soria is not a machine, and it showed that on Saturday. A heart-breaking loss from the Royals. What should we expect?

Sunday was absolutely appalling. It reminded me of the Texas series where Trey Hillman doomed himself to being fired.

After gaining an early one-run lead in the first, Bannister lost control and the Royals pitching gave up nine runs to make it 9-1 in the ninth.

We made a nice little comeback in the ninth, cutting the deficit to 9-6, but Oakland closer Andrew Bailey quickly put the rally away for his 20th save of the season.

After the game, fans were furious and Yost was furious also. Hopefully his meeting with the players affects their game mentality against Toronto.

We start a three game series against the Blue Jays Monday at Kauffman Stadium at 7:10 pm. The first game we have Kyle Davies (4-6, 5.57) going against Brett Cecil (8-5, 3.97).

Davies hopes to get the Royals back on track and end their six-game skid. Toronto is coming off a road sweep against Baltimore, and are looking to continue their winning streak against terrible teams when they face the Royals.

My prediction for this game: Toronto 8, Kansas City 4.

Tuesday night at 7:10 the Royals will throw Anthony Lerew (1-3, 7.56) in an attempt to counter Jays pitcher Jesse Litsch (0-4, 6.54).

Litsch pitched well against Boston last Sunday, but he will have to keep pitching well against KC to keep his spot in the rotation.

I can see the Royals winning this game, even if Lerew is pitching, but it will be a high-scoring affair. Prediction: Kansas City 9 Toronto 7.

Wednesday afternoon we have a 1:10 start with Zack Grienke (5-9, 3.67) starting for the boys in blue. Toronto will start another pitcher fighting for a rotation spot, Marc Rzepczynski (0-0, 5.40).

I feel bad for Toronto players because they have to learn how to pronounce Rzepczynski. I see Grienke breaking out of his funk and pitching a solid seven-inning game, only to have the bullpen blow it in the eighth. Prediction: Toronto 3, Kansas City 2.

Thank You for reading and I would like to say that the Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots as a joke, but the Scots haven’t got the joke yet. 

Good night, KC.

~The Awesomeness that is Ben Gartland has spoken.

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2010 Atlanta Braves: Ned Yost, Royals Get Swept in Return To Atlanta

Former Braves Return to Atlanta for Three Game Series

Former Braves coach Ned Yost and former Braves players Bruce Chen, Kyle Davies, Kyle Farnsworth, and Wilson Betemit returned to Atlanta for a three game series at Turner Field.

Yost, now the manager of the Kansas City Royals, served on the Braves coaching staff from 1991 to 1998 as the bullpen coach and from 1999 to 2002 as the first base coach.

Chen spent most of his first three seasons in the majors with the Braves from 1998 to 2000. While in Atlanta, Chen appeared in 44 games (11 starts) and went 8-2 with a 4.13 ERA.

Kyle Davies was a product of the Braves farm system and pitched in Atlanta from 2005 to 2007. In two plus seasons with the Braves, Davies started 45 games and compiled a record of 13-22 before being traded to Kansas City in July of 2007.

After spending his first six seasons with the Cubs, reliever Kyle Farnsworth split the 2005 season between the Tigers and Braves. In Atlanta, Farnsworth went 0-0 and registered 10 saves in 26 games with a 1.98 ERA. His strikeout/walk ratio was 4.57 and he had an impressive .805 WHIP.

Because Betemit plays third base, his playing time was sporadic because the Braves already had a full-time third baseman in Chipper Jones. From 2001 to 2006, Betemit appeared in 233 games with Atlanta. He hit .281 in 495 at-bats, scored 69 runs, hit 13 home runs, and had 52 RBI before being traded to the Dodgers in 2006.

It was nice to see these familiar faces back at Turner Field even though they were now sporting Royal blue. I’m sure it was nice for them to return and reunite with some of their old Atlanta teammates as well.

Then they started to play baseball.


Game One

In the first game of the series, the Braves beat Kansas City 6-4 behind a quality start from Derek Lowe, who also helped himself out with the bat by driving in two runs.

Struggling Chipper Jones had a hit, a walk, and drove in two runs. Melky Cabrera went 3-4, scored two runs, and drove in another.

Jose Guillen of the Royals recorded a hit to extend his hitting-streak to 13 games. Billy Butler, who idolized Chipper Jones growing up, hit his seventh home run of the season off of Lowe in the fourth inning.


Game Two

The Braves won the second game of the series 5-4 on a Troy Glaus walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Braves’ Kris Medlen battled stumbling Royals ace Zack Greinke pitch-for-pitch, and he left the game in the sixth inning with a chance to earn the win. However, the bullpen would blow the lead and Medlen would have to settle for a no-decision.

After the Royals tied the game in the seventh, Venters pitched a perfect eighth inning. Billy Wagner would follow with a perfect top of the ninth become the pitcher of record and earn the win. He improved his record to 5-0 with a 1.27 ERA in addition to his 14 saves.

The Royals’ Scott Podsednik and Jason Kendell each had two RBI, Mike Aviles and Yunieski Betancourt each scored twice, and Jose Guillen extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

Zack Greinke went seven innings, gave up four runs (three earned), and struck out five Braves in a no-decision.

Last year’s A.L. Cy Young winner is just 2-8 with a 3.94 ERA through 15 starts this season.


Game Three

Former Brave Kyle Davies took the mound for the Royals as they tried to avoid a sweep. However he struggled with his control and lasted only 4.1 innings. He gave up four runs on four hits, walked seven batters, and struck out six.

Strangely, Davies fared better than Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami who lasted only two innings. He gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits and only struck out one Royal.

However, the Braves bullpen pitched seven innings of shut-out baseball, and the Braves offense was able to come through again to earn the 8-5 victory and a series sweep.

Chipper Jones went 2-3 with two doubles and three RBI. He also raised his batting average to .250 in the process. Jones is on a small five game hitting streak with five runs, seven RBI, and a .471 batting average in that stretch.

Jose Guillen extended his hitting-streak to a career best 15 games in the losing effort as he recorded two hits, two runs, and one RBI in five plate appearances.


Thoughts on the series

This was certainly not the result Ned Yost and company had hoped for. The Royals are now 29-41 on the season and are 11.5 games behind Minnesota in the A.L. Central. They’ll try to rebound as they travel to Washington, D.C. to take on the Nationals on Monday.

On the positive side for Kansas City, they were able to score an average of more than four runs per game, and they’re not swinging the bats all that poorly.

With the sweep, Atlanta has now won five straight and have increased their lead in the division to 2.5 games.

This marks the 13th consecutive series the Braves have won this season. Bobby Cox has preached the importance of winning series for the last 20 years, and the Braves are doing just that.

The Braves are winning games with their hitting and pitching, and they’re firing on all cylinders.

Troy Glaus continues to swing a hot bat, Martin Prado already has 101 hits this season, and Chipper Jones looks like he may be heating up.

Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe are anchoring the starting rotation and Billy Wagner has been outstanding as the Braves closer this season. The Braves reemphasis on pitching seems to be paying dividends.

It’s always good to see former Braves come back to Turner Field, and it’s even better to be on the winning end.

Does anyone think Ned Yost might make another return to Turner Field as Braves Manager in 2011 replacing Bobby Cox?

It could happen.

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