ST. LOUIS -- What more could possibly go wrong?
The Royals were wondering that early Wednesday morning as they took a bus trip through Missouri for the continuation of their Interleague series with the Cardinals.
After losing their 10th straight home game on Tuesday night, matching a record set just last year, the Royals headed for Kansas City's downtown airport for their short charter flight to St. Louis. But the plane had mechanical difficulties and a replacement wasn't immediately available.
Fortunately, senior director of team travel Jeff Davenport was able to quickly secure two buses to get players, staff and broadcasting personnel to St. Louis.
"Davvy was right on point, man," pitcher James Shields said.
Instead of a 43-minute flight, though, there was a four-hour bus ride from Cowtown to the Gateway Arch.
"There were no options," manager Ned Yost said. "It was either send everybody home [and fly in the morning] or get on the bus. We figured out a way to get two buses there and it was like a Minor League trip."
Now, the Royals know quite well why this intrastate rivalry is called the I-70 Series.
"We got see Aaron Crow's stomping grounds," Shields said, noting the bus went right through Columbia where Crow pitched for the University of Missouri.
Instead of arriving shortly after midnight by air, they got in about 4 a.m. CT by bus.
"It's just the way it's going," Yost said. "The hits just keep comin'."
Don't think he meant base hits either.
Yost isn't thinking job status amid KC's skid
ST. LOUIS -- If manager Ned Yost is worried about keeping his job in the wake of the Royals' dizzying free fall, he's not letting on. He realizes there's a buzz of speculation.
"It hasn't bothered me," Yost said before Wednesday night's game against the Cardinals. "I don't deal with it. I don't listen to it. I know it's there, it's got to be there."
Yost, in his fourth season as Kansas City manager, was asked if he sensed his job was in jeopardy.
"I don't even take the time to think about it. My whole focus is getting this turned around," he said. "Honestly, I don't dwell on it, I don't worry about it. I've been through it before, it doesn't matter. You just worry about what you can control."
Yost was dismissed as Milwaukee manager in a bizarre move in 2008, just as the Brewers were about to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1982. He was let go after 150 games, when the team was struggling yet still had an 83-67 record, so probably nothing would surprise him now.
As Yost talked on Wednesday, his Royals had gone from seven games over .500 (17-10) to seven games under (21-29) -- following a 5-3 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium -- in just over three weeks. A player's production, he noted, is judged by a variety of statistics, but there's just one basic stat for managers.
"As a manager, my only production is wins and losses. So I understand that side of it," Yost said. "So I don't really focus on it, I don't really worry about it, I don't really think about it."
Yost said he has managed somewhat differently as the Royals' main culprit, the offense, has sagged.
"In this situation, we're trying to take more advantage of matchups," he said. "We're pinch-hitting a little more where we hadn't pinch-hit before, trying to push the offensive envelope a little bit, trying to give ourselves every advantage and to get going."
Yost resolutely tries to remain calm and steady through the struggles. The current generation of players, he believes, does not react well to a fire-breathing, finger-pointing approach by management.
"The most important thing is, you can't go crazy. That's how you lose them, when you start going nuts, when times start going bad," Yost said. "You have to stay steady, you have to stay in control and you have to stay supportive. Because if you start yelling and screaming, it makes it worse, it doesn't make it better.
"I'm just staying as steady as I can. The old adage, I think makes a lot of sense: Try to keep your head when everybody else around you is losing theirs. That's important to do."
Yost said that he, general manager Dayton Moore and the staff are working toward a solution.
"Dayton is doing fine," Yost said. "We're all staying as calm and trying to think through every scenario, what do we need to do to get out of it, if we need to make changes, what changes do we need to make. What do we need to do to get back on track and put an end to this slide?"
Yost knows that KC fans, fueled by preseason optimism and encouraged by the team's good start, are looking for better results.
"I know they're definitely frustrated but we are, too. ... They're right there with us, I think we're all in this together in respect to the frustration level," Yost said. "But that still doesn't take away from the job that we have as we continue to battle through it and get through it somehow, some way."
Butler starts, Hosmer sits in St. Louis opener
ST. LOUIS -- With no designated hitter in the National League city, Royals manager Ned Yost elected to use regular DH Billy Butler at first base and put Eric Hosmer on the bench for Wednesday night's game.
With the run-challenged Royals looking for offense, Yost didn't want to go without Butler, who was 4-for-7 in the two games against the Cardinals in Kansas City.
In addition, third baseman Mike Moustakas who'd missed three games with a sore quad was back in the lineup.
The Royals remain without catcher Salvador Perez, who is on bereavement leave after his grandmother's passing. This was the fifth game he's missed as he's in Venezuela.
"He's trying to tie up everything over there," Yost said.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.