After they took 2 of 3 from a very good Rangers’ team in Arlington, the Yankees bring their new found power back to the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium to take on the surprising Kansas City Royals. Kansas City is 18-16 on the season and is in second place in the American League Central. But, all Bombers’ fans have one thing in mind coming into Tuesday. It is not about the Royals, but instead it is about the series against the Boston Red Sox this weekend. Don’t sleep on Ned Yost’s team who is first in the AL in runs scored and second in batting average.
Here are the pitching matchups for this series:
Tuesday, 7:05, YES: Kyle Davies (1-4, 7.32 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (1-2, 2.88 ERA)
Wednesday, 7:05, YES: Bruce Chen (4-1, 3.59 ERA) vs. A.J Burnett (4-2, 3.71 ERA)
Thursday, 7:05, YES: Sean O’ Sullivan (1-2, 3.41 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (3-2, 4.08 ERA)
From the look of the pitching matchups, New York should take two of three at least in this series with the way Nova and Burnett have pitched of late, but let’s take a look at three key elements about the Royals that could give the Yankees some problems:
1. The Melk-Man Delivers: Yes, Melky Cabrera is back, but in a Royals’ uniform. The former Yankee centerfielder who was part of the 2009 World Champion team is now playing every day in left field for Ned Yost and he couldn’t be coming to the Bronx any hotter. He is 7 for 18 with six RBI’s in his last four games.
Give the Royals their credit. They went out and got quality signings for a small price, including former Mets/Rangers outfielder Jeff Francoeur, who has eight home runs this season. The new additions have helped Kansas City be resilient late in games, especially in the first two weeks of the season.
By the way, if you are going to the game Tuesday night like myself, stand up and applaud Melky for all that he did with the Yankees in his first at-bat.
2. Welcome to the Majors, Hosmer: Eric Hosmer makes his Yankee Stadium debut at first base for the Royals this week and in Kansas City, he is seen as the second coming of Bo Jackson. He hits more for average than power, but he stormed onto the scene with a RBI double against the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. Kansas City has one of the best, if not the best farm system in baseball and Hosmer is one of the pieces that could make the Royals relevant in Kansas City again. Expect them to have a spark in their step with the youth influx on this ballclub!
3. A new diet of Crow: Aaron Crow has finally made the major leagues and is one of the key pieces in a revitalized Kansas City Royals’ bullpen. In 2008, Crow did not sign a deal with the Washington Nationals when he was drafted and spent a year in the Independent League. A year later, the Royals drafted him with their first pick and now sets up great closer Joakim Soria. He has a fastball in the mid 90’s and throws a slider in the high 80’s. The Yankees don’t want to be eating crow when this series is over, but will the Royals even get to Crow with their starting pitching concerns?
Prediction: The Yankees found their bats in Texas with four hits and two homers from shortstop Derek Jeter being the most notable. The guy who desperately needs a big series is Alex Rodriguez. He has not hit a home run since his grand slam April 23rd against the Baltimore Orioles. Luckily, he faces Kyle Davies on Tuesday, whom he hit home run 500 off of on August 4th, 2007. He will break out in this series as well.
The only game I see the Royals winning would be Thursday as Sean O’Sullivan has the ability to shut down the Yankees’ lineup the way he did with both the Angels and the Royals in 2010. If New York can sweep this series, it will give them great confidence going into the Red Sox series, but I think the Royals will find a way to win one game.
Yankees win 2 out of 3!
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