At the top of the inning, the Royals are down 3-1, with Jeff Francouer to bat and Freddy Garcia still on the mound for the Yankees. Francouer singles on a soft line drive to LF which gives us a man on first with no outs. At this point in the inning the Royals are expected (based on Baseball Prospectus's 2011 expected runs matrix found here) to score 0.8367 runs. There is a good chance at this point that the Royals can get a run this inning to get it to within one.
Next, Eric Hosmer walks on 6 pitches, which leads to Garcia getting the hook. This brings up men on first and 2nd, still no outs, and now the Royals are into the Yankees bullpen. The Royals should have expected to score 1.453 runs this inning, which means they were getting quite close to a situation where they SHOULD have expected to tie the game.
Next, Mike Aviles flies out in a full count to the CF. This decreases the Royals expected runs to 0.9012. The Royals probably still should have expected to get one run back in this inning.
Jeff Francouer then steals 3rd base, so we have men on first and third, 1 out, for a run expectancy of 1.1629.
Matt Treanor then comes to bat, he subsequently walks on 5 pitches, this loads the bases with 1 out. At this point the Royals can expect to at least tie the game in this inning, their expected runs goes all the way up to 1.5642. A solid hit will tie it.
What Ned Yost does next, in my eyes, is unforgivable:
He actually lets Alcides Escobar bat with the bases loaded in a 2 run game. Yes, Alcides Escobar, he of the .233/.259/.279 and 53 OPS+... yes, that's not a typo.. 53 OPS+ this year. Needless to say, he's one of the worst hitters in the AL, and Ned Yost ACTUALLY lets him bat. At this point, I'm fuming. The Royals need a hit to tie it, or a walk to bring it within one (at this point David Robertson has thrown more balls than strikes). Beyond frustrating.
Escobar strikes out swinging and the Royals run expectancy drops all the way to 0.6724. Chris Getz then also strikes out swinging but at this point it doesn't really matter, does it?
Because in the MOST important at bat of the game, Ned Yost let the worst hitter on the team strike out.
Ned Yost has done a lot of great things for KC, but if he can't see the importance of letting a Wilson Betemit hit in that situation (and then sliding Aviles over to SS where he played all of '08..) then I'm not sure I have any time for Ned Yost.
P.S. In case you were wondering, Alcides Escobar has a -16 OPS+ when coming to bat with runners in scoring position. No, that's not a joke, no, I'm not flaming Escobar, he's been a very valuable piece to this team, but DAMMIT NED, Ya don't let him hit with the bases loaded when you're down 2 and have only 1 out!