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Royals Bullpen Dominates the Seventh, Eighth and Ninth

The Kansas City Royals are the team to beat in the American League and one of the reasons why is the way manager Ned Yost uses his superb bullpen.

Other clubs are beginning to adopt his successful formula as the Royals manager has changed the face of baseball with regard to the bullpen.

Likely, within a few seasons, it will be more the norm than the exception it still is today, just as defenses are now using defensive shifts that at one time were considered gimmicks.

For Kansas City it is called HDH – Kelvin Herrera the flame thrower during the seventh, Wade Davis enters to dominate the eighth and Greg Holland the closer operates the ninth.

Opponents had better get to the Royals between innings one and six because the HDH means lights out for opponents.

Each of the three late inning relievers has his own role and each is the closer for his particular inning.

For Kansas City, the complete game is something of the past as the Royals starters have just two over their first 128 games this season.

When Kansas City won Friday night against Tampa Bay, they reached 30 games over the .500 mark for just the first time in 35 seasons when they were 97-65 and reached the World Series in 1980.

The bullpen is a big part of that. The unit leads the American League in ERA at 2.37, including an ERA of 1.58 over its past 12 games.

Yost says his team has tremendous athletes who play exceptional defense, have a great bullpen and offensively can get on base and do not end innings with strikeouts.

Back to the bullpen, will baseball eventually become a game where starters go just six innings? Yost said for his team the answer is yes. Yost even says that for his team if the situation is such, the starters will go just five innings as he has the likes of Ryan Madson, Franklin Morales and Luke Hochevar before he unleashes his HDH.

Yost added that with such a good bullpen it is difficult to lose during the final three innings when the bullpen is so good. The team’s goal each game is reach the sixth and they are in good shape.

Players on the Royals agree with Yost and call their bullpen the best in baseball. Starters are confident when leaving with just a one-run lead knowing what they have in the bullpen can shut down almost every batting order put up against them.

Let’s see if it gets them back to the World Series again this season and ends differently than last year.

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