If it seems like the KC Royals and Yankees are familiar foes now, it’s because we just did this a week ago at Kauffman. The Yankees won two of three. Can the Royals bounce back?
For the first time all season, Vargas got touched up by the Yankees in his last start, getting shelled for six earned runs. Is the shine off the apple or is that simply a market correction to lower Vargas’ 2017 performance from ‘Latter-day Sandy Koufax’ to ‘Run of the mill Clayton Kershaw season.’ The caveat there is that Yankee Stadium, with its hitter-friendly layout, is not a good place for a bounce-back game if you’re a pitcher.
Watch If: You think it’s more likely to be the latter scenario.
Duff Man salvaged the series with a real gem in the series finale last week, scattering three hits and striking out 10 in the second-best pitching performance by a KC Royals starter this season (still your leader is Ian Kennedy’s April 16 start against the Angels).
He’s had tons of success over the years against the current Yankees lineup, allowing 11 hits in 52 at-bats to the current roster (.208 average).
Watch If: You or someone you know loves Danny Duffy, as he is magnificent.
Hammel has given up a lot of homers (five) and a lot of runs (12) over his last three starts. Two of those homers and five of those runs came last Tuesday against New York, including Gary Sanchez’s three-run bomb.
Hammel is not in a good place at the moment, which is bad news, but Ned Yost doesn’t have an option available to him that isn’t significantly worse (Chris Young, Travis Wood) or should probably wait a little while longer before being thrown to the wolves (Miguel Almonte).
Watch If: You’d like to see Hammel set an MLB record for most home runs allowed in a game (the American League record is six, last accomplished by James Shields in 2010).
Game Four: TBD vs. Masahiro Tanaka (5-3, 6.56 ERA), 12:05 p.m. (CT), FSKC/MLB Network
TBD is getting the ball again on Thursday; the hope is that TBD turns into Nathan Karns, pending his tests, but I’m not particularly hopeful. However, Masahiro Tanaka has not been the Tanaka of old lately and the small park could factor into his outing as well.
Watch If: Nathan Karns is healthy. If not, shield your eyes as this could be a football score (15-13 maybe?)
Predictions Sure To Be Wrong
Game One: Vargy bounces back but Pineda is better in a low-scoring affair.
Game Two: Duffy keeps right on owning the Yankees as the bats tag Montgomery again.
Game Three: A smaller ballpark is no kinder to Hammel than a bigger one as the Yanks roll.
Game Four: The KC Royals salvage a split behind Eric Hosmer (who is gonna go bonkers this series or your money back on this preview) and TBD/Karns holding it down jusssst enough.