www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

Tigers' Cole earns MIAA soccer honor -9/30/2014, 3:10 PM

Royals' playoff appearance years in the making for some fans -9/30/2014, 10:34 AM

Chiefs offense gets rolling in rout -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

California has four teams in the playoffs for the first time -9/30/2014, 10:31 AM

TMP golf finishes third at Hoisington meet -9/30/2014, 10:35 AM

Monarchs move to 14-10 -9/30/2014, 10:30 AM

Big 12 coaches react to firing -9/30/2014, 10:21 AM

HHS volleyball goes 2-3 in Newton -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

HHS tennis places third at Garden City Invitational -9/29/2014, 4:16 PM

Tiger tennis finishes fall season 5-2 -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

MNF for Chiefs -9/29/2014, 10:27 AM

Royals' starters rest in win -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

KU shows Weis the door -9/29/2014, 10:26 AM

Jayhawks take the conservative route in their loss to Texas -9/28/2014, 9:43 AM

FHSU soccer cruises past SW Baptist -9/28/2014, 7:03 PM

Victoria takes advantage for close win at Ness -9/28/2014, 1:14 AM

Plainville grabs first win, beats TMP -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Area prep football roundup: Otis-Bison, Kinsley set record -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Wildcats roll -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Delton, HHS run past Garden City -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's soccer picks up 1-0 win at Southern -9/28/2014, 7:02 PM

Tiger women's XC wins at Emporia State -9/27/2014, 7:12 PM

Kansas City clinches first playoff berth since 1985 -9/27/2014, 7:02 PM

Tigers take down No. 8 Pitt State -9/27/2014, 6:53 PM

Kansas linebacker Jake Love lives on instincts -9/26/2014, 11:06 AM

Like old times, Kansas State takes pride in stuffing the run -9/26/2014, 10:57 AM

FHSU women fall 2-1 -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Big win for Tiger soccer -9/26/2014, 10:46 AM

Tough test for Tiger football -9/26/2014, 10:23 AM

Hays High, TMP move to 4A -9/26/2014, 10:24 AM

One more win and Royals are in -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS XC second at McPherson meet -9/26/2014, 10:25 AM

Indian soccer snaps skid -9/26/2014, 10:47 AM

HHS golf clinches share of WAC title -9/26/2014, 10:48 AM

Monarchs, Cardinals seek first win -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Royals drop game at Cleveland -9/25/2014, 10:26 AM

UTEP football coach Sean Kugler hopes to build a program that can emulate Kansas State -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Indians hit the road -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

Giants, Redskins trying to avoid steeper climb in East -9/25/2014, 10:13 AM

KVA prep volleybal rankings, Sept. 24 -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS soccer falls at Great Bend -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

HHS takes third at Salina South Invitational -9/24/2014, 10:26 AM

No. 8 Washburn too much for Tigers -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Tiger defense continues to get stronger -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Two wins for TMP volleyball -9/24/2014, 10:27 AM

TMP soccer rolls to win -9/24/2014, 10:29 AM

Ventura dominates Indians as Royals push for postseason -9/24/2014, 10:28 AM

Sports Scores

Tuesday

Prep basketball

Boys

Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

Click To View All


myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Optimism abounds after Royals finish 86-76

Published on -9/30/2013, 3:53 PM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

By DAVE SKRETTA

AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Their best record in more than two decades. Several breakout stars. A hungry bunch of young players who have finally played September games that matter.

There's a lot to be optimistic about when it comes to the Kansas City Royals. There are also plenty of questions remaining as they point toward next season.

Will manager Ned Yost be back? Will they find a big bat for right field? Will they retain or replace right-hander Ervin Santana? Will some of the young pitchers develop into starters? Will they take the final step needed to make the postseason?

"We like our bullpen, we like our starting pitching and we think that our offensive unit is going to continue to grow and trend upward," said Yost, whose contract expired after this season but who's also received a vote of confidence from general manager Dayton Moore. "We think we're sitting in a pretty good spot to come in next year and compete."

The Royals finished 86-76 for their best record since 1989, and a 14-win improvement over last season. They were just five games back of the AL's wild card and in contention until the penultimate series of the season.

"Everyone in here realized how much fun winning was in that second half was for us," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "The fans were great in Kansas City, showing up every day and filling it out for us and really making it a tough place to play for teams coming in."

Indeed, the fervor of late-season baseball was back in the old Midwestern cattle town for the first time since George Brett -- who made a cameo as the Royals' hitting coach midway through the season -- was plying his trade at third base in the 1970s and '80s.

Kauffman Stadium was filled to the brim for the Royals' final home series against Texas, and the team even managed to push the Chiefs off the front page late in the season.

"A lot of us realized how good of a baseball city Kansas City is," Hosmer said, "and especially when you're winning how fun it can be."

The Royals still haven't been to the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, and never did pull into a postseason slot despite a stellar second half. They still have not risen to the level of the American League's elite franchises, even if they're trending that way.

For the most part, the Royals spent the entire season chasing those teams.

They got off to a miserable start capped by a disastrous May in which they were just 8-20, and they were already being written off again. But they steadied the ship in June and then went on a tear after the All-Star break, putting together a 43-27 finishing kick.

"We just need to keep that kind of mentality where we go out there and play hard and have fun and just let that happen," outfielder Alex Gordon said. "We had a good energy in the clubhouse and a good mentality, kind of feeling. It paid off with the wins we had."

The clubhouse will remain largely intact next season. Hosmer and young starters such as shortstop Alcides Escobar and center Salvador Perez are under club control or already have long-term deals, and even ace James Shields remains signed through next season. Santana is the biggest loss looming -- he may have priced himself out of Kansas City by going 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA.

The Royals will make a qualifying offer to Santana, but they also have a bevy of youngsters led by Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer waiting in the wings if he gets away in free agency. All-Star closer Greg Holland, who saved 47 games with a 1.21 ERA, will be back to anchor one of the major's best bullpens. Holland had just one blown save in his last 41 chances.

The biggest question becomes who will manage them.

Owner David Glass intends to leave that decision up to Moore, who has been in Yost's corner all season. Yost also has said he'd like to be back, especially with the franchise finally contending for the first time in decades.

"When you have something good you need to stick with it," Gordon said, "and I think that's what we have. We have a good manager that gels well with the guys on this team and we all have a good relationship. It's kind of hard to start over again with someone new, so it'd be nice to have him back and we're hoping that he comes back."

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos

AP Breaking News
AP Nation-World News

View this site in another language.