The Royals are suddenly red hot, winners of seven of their last eight games.
Kansas City just completed a six-game winning streak and a change in the lineup may have been a catalyst for the recent surge.
Frustrated by a lack of success on offense and in the standings, manager Ned Yost reportedly sought help from the Royals front office in putting together an optimal lineup. After crunching the numbers, it turned out that Salvador Perez, an excellent contact hitter, was the choice for the three-spot.
“We sit down every day and talk about it,” Yost said. “I get a lineup from the stat guys every day. I have never used it in its entirety but I use some of it. I consult with the coaches and we look at matchups and a few other things to construct our lineup.”
Yost tried out the new lineup, which also included moving Eric Hosmer into the second spot, and the Royals achieved immediate success.
After a June 4th loss to the Twins, in which Perez hit seventh, Yost decided it was time to make the switch.
Alex Gordon would lead off, followed by Hosmer and Perez. Alcides Escobar, who spent much of the season at the top of the lineup would be slotted in the ninth spot, providing the bottom of the order with more speed.
The Royals proceeded to win their next six. In his first game in the three-hole, Perez went 2-3 with two runs and an RBI, leading the Royals to a 4-1 win over Minnesota.
After eight games in the three-spot, Perez is hitting .367 with 11 hits, 1 HR and 7 RBI in 30 at-bats. He has at least one hit in each of those eight games.
Hosmer, meanwhile, has four multi-hit games over the past eight, with two hits on Wednesday including the game-winning single in the bottom of the tenth to beat the Tigers.
On May 25, Perez, dealing with the passing of his grandmother, was placed on the bereavement list. The talented catcher missed nine games and the Royals dropped seven of those nine.
Upon his return, Perez and the new-look lineup helped produce the longest win streak of the season for the Royals.
The offense, however, is not without its faults. There is still a glaring lack of power, ranking dead last in baseball in home runs.
While Perez and Hosmer may not be an answer in the power department (only 3 combined HR on the year), they both have been hitting for average and are clearly thriving in the reshuffled batting order.
How long Yost will stick with his new lineup may depend on whether the Royals stay hot but, so far, the results have been too good to mess with.