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New York Yankees @ Kansas City Royals: Series Preview

The Yankees try to right the ship after a rough weekend.

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Losing three games out of a four-game set to a first place team isn’t a disastrous scenario, but Joe Girardi would tell you it’s certainly not what you want. The Yankees still sit a half-game over the Orioles for the AL East lead, thanks to a well-timed Baltimore losing streak.

Now New York heads to the midwest for a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals. Those Royals are 16-21 on the season and in last place in their division. This is the time for the Yankees to get back to their winning ways.

Game 1: CC Sabathia vs Jason Hammel

Sabathia has struggled to match the surprising results he found last year so far in 2017. The big left-hander currently owns a 5.77 ERA with a batting average against of .271. That’s not great. He allowed five runs in his last start against the Reds after winning his previous two starts.

Fortunately for the Yankees, Hammel is riding a similar struggle. His ERA is approaching six after a very not-good outing against the Rays his last time out. The Royals have lost all but one of Hammel’s starts so far this season. Yikes.

Game 2: Michael Pineda vs Jason Vargas

Michael Pineda has been a bright spot in the Yankees rotation, which still feels weird to say. Although his last start, a six-inning, three-run job against the Astros, ended up as a New York loss, Pineda has generally been good enough for the Yankees to win when he has been on the mound this season. His current 0.99 WHIP looks pretty nice too.

It’s very unclear how this statement is true, but Vargas is 5-1 with a 1.01 ERA. At 34-years-old, the lefty has turned what you think you know about him on its head through the first month and a half of the season. He held the Rays scoreless through seven innings his last time out.

Game 3: Jordan Montgomery vs Danny Duffy

Growing pains with Montgomery are to be expected in his first season in the big league rotation. Those growing pains have only been 4-ERA painful and not 6-ERA painful to this point, which helps. It’s still not as ideal as you’d like, especially when other, more reliable starters are struggling. Montgomery did alright in his last start, holding a good Astros offense to just four runs in six innings. Unfortunately, the Yankees offense was stifled and couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole.

Duffy has turned in six straight quality starts for Kansas City, and his numbers look pretty decent: 3.38 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 6.2 K/9. Unfortunately for Duffy and the Royals, those numbers look to be wholly unsustainable based on how Duffy has actually pitched. He has kept the ball in the yard very well, too well. When those numbers regulate, things might not look so good. The Yankees would be a good team to bring those numbers back to Earth.

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