In Ned Yost's postgame conference after the Game 5 defeat, he may have revealed something about himself he meant to keep secret. Something dark. Sinister. Incriminating, maybe. He says he is perfectly suited to manage NL-type games given his experience in Milwaukee (which helped him out AMIRITE?!). However, here is what he said in the postgame conference:
Q. Does it mean anything that you're going back to Kansas City?
NED YOST: We get to, right (laughter)?
Q. I'm allowing you, too. I just want to know what it means.
NED YOST: Thank you. I just wanted to make sure we getting to back to Kansas City.
Nedyo was very eager to get back to Kansas City; luckily, the media has seen fit to allow the World Series to return to Kansas City. Back to AL ball. Back to the DH. Back to the game of baseball where the guys who throw the ball don't hit the ball, which makes sense because pitchers usually don't hit the ball even when they are allowed to. UNLESS YOU'RE YUSMEIRO PETIT. Gah.
Here is what Yost revealed: He fears pinch hitting. Paralyzed by pinch hitting.
The Royals played three games in San Francisco. In Game 5, Billy Butler was the only pinch hitter, and he struck out on three pitches due to the residual fear emanating from Yost. In Game 4, Nori Aoki was the only pinch hitter, and he grounded into a double play on the second pitch. In Game 3, there were no pinch hitters.
When was the last time we saw Willingham, our on-base/power bench threat? In Game 2 in Kansas City. Willingham pinch hit for Terrance Gore, who had pinch run for Billy Butler, who I guess is first on the pinch hitting depth chart. If there is such a thing. The Ham struck out, but he at least saw 7 pitches before doing so. It didn't matter. The Royals were ALREADY WINNING 7-2 in the 8th inning. Willingham also struck out in Game 1 on 6 pitches. The previous appearance for Willingham was in Game 2 of the ALDS, when he popped out to 2nd base in the top of the 11th. The appearance before that was his bloop single in the Wild Card game in the bottom of the 9th.
Seriously, nothing good has happened for the Royal pinch hitters since the Wild Card game. Christian Colon did some cool stuff in the Wild Card game too as a pinch hitter. So, maybe I should count.
Wild Card -- 2 PH, 2 hits
ALDS -- 1 PH, 1 out
ALCS -- 0 PH
WS -- 4 PH, 5 outs
If I got 6 outs from 5 PH PA in the ALDS and WS, I'd be afraid of pinch hitting, too. I'd also be afraid of fractions.
Are the Royals' bench players just bad? Are they injured? Does Yost even walk around the part of the bench where they sit? Is it dark there? Is Yost afraid of the dark too? Are there too many sunflower seed shells on the ground? Is the ground crunchy? Does Josh Willingham not like to (b)hunt?
All these questions won't be answered. Yost fears the bench. The reason for such fear is darker-the routine.
Algorithm time. Billy Butler gets on base later in close game-->pinch run with Terrance Gore-->Terrance Gore's spot in order comes up-->pinch hit with Josh Willingham. It's a flowchart.
This feels like another dream
Trapped underneath my own routines
I'm paralyzed, I'm paralyzed
Stuck in the middle
And I'm paralyzed
Perhaps the Royals won't need pinch hitters in Kansas City. Under AL rules in the playoffs, the Royals have lost only 1 game. Maybe Ned's fear won't matter. Let's all just hope that the Royals get through the 6th inning with a lead, after which the win routine kicks in. I'm OK with the win routine.