Puzzled by balks, Soria vows to correct issue

Puzzled by balks, Soria vows to correct issue

NEW YORK -- Coming into this season, Royals reliever Joakim Soria had been called for two balks in his previous eight seasons.

In the last three weeks, Soria has been called for three balks.

Each balk was called because Soria did not come to a complete stop from the stretch.

Soria can't explain why he is suddenly being called for balks. The Royals' coaching staff can't, either.

"Maybe the umpires have sent reports to other crews to watch for it," manager Ned Yost said. "I don't know. It's like it's become a red flag to look for."

Marte heads to second on balk

Soria said he isn't doing anything different in the stretch than he has his whole career.

"No, but it doesn't matter," Soria said. "I have to make the adjustment. If they want me to stop more, I'll stop more."

Does Soria feel picked on?

"I think everything is picking on me right now," Soria said, smiling.

That, of course is reference to the amount of bad pitching luck experienced by Soria, who entered Wednesday's game against the Yankees with a 4.96 ERA. In Tuesday's 10-7 loss to the Yankees, Soria gave up two runs, thanks in part to three weakly hit flares.

It was reminiscent of Soria's appearance on Opening Night, when he gave up three runs on several broken-bat bloops.

"It was exactly like Opening Night," Soria said. "I really made the pitches I wanted to. I feel like I executed pitches in the right place and right time. But they find holes.

"I have never had this [much bad luck] all my life, not even as a little kid. It has to turn."

When pitchers go through this, there isn't much they can do, Soria said.

"I say to [pitching coach] Dave [Eiland], 'I don't want to change my whole routine, because I'm making my pitches,'" Soria said. "I was talking with the guys -- next time, I'm going to let them hit it harder so they find some outs."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.