Don't look now, but the Royals are winning with Ned Yost

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Last night the Royals staged a late-inning rally to complete a three-game sweep of the Mariners, giving them 10 wins in the past 13 games and a 27-23 mark in 50 games since Ned Yost replaced Trey Hillman as manager.

Kansas City is still just 39-46 overall, which is merely the 21st-best record in baseball, but that puts them only eight games back in the thoroughly mediocre American League Central and suddenly has Yost talking about actually winning the division. Seriously:

You look at today and we’re a good week and a day away from being in first place. That’s the way I look at it. If some guys lose some games, and we get on a bit of a run. We’re in it. I mean, really. Eight days. If things happen. Yeah, I really believe it. Why can’t we make a run? We’ve made a little bit of a run. If we keep winning series and keep playing the way that we’re playing, who knows what can happen?

We’re in a good spot. We just have to continue doing what we’re doing and, slowly but surely, make up ground. We have to continue to pitch the way that we’ve pitched. We’ve got to continue doing what we’ve been doing. There are a lot of things that have to go right but, heck yeah, we still think we’re in it.

Even in baseball’s weakest division it’s tough to take the Royals’ too seriously as contenders until they actually get above .500, but Yost going 27-23 after Hillman went 12-23 this season and 152-207 during his three-year tenure deserves some notice.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics