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New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals: Series Preview

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Can the Yankees take a series against the last-place Royals?

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

When these the teams met in Kansas City back in May, the Yankees took two out of three. It was semi-disappointing that they didn’t sweep at the time, and it only looks worse now. The Royals currently have the second-worst record in baseball, having lost 69 games.

The Yankees will look to do better than this time in the Bronx, and you would think they have a decent shot. Jorge Soler has been one of the Royals’ best hitters this season, but he’s out with an injury. Mike Moustaskas may very well be on #hugwatch at some point in this series. Several of Kansas City’s pitchers sound like players from a novel about baseball. Let’s see how the pitching matchups shake out as the Royals head to Yankee Stadium.

Game One: Sonny Gray vs. Jakob Junis

As you may know, Gray’s most recent couple starts were...actually pretty okay. There’s been false dawns with him before this season, but stringing together two solid games like he has is a good start. Now he has a legitimate chance at a third against a bad Royals team. One of his other few good outings this year also came against them.

Junis is admittedly the only Royals’ pitcher in this series whose name I recognized. He got off to a really good start this year, but in his game logs you can see things progressively get worse as the year goes along. His July 21st start against the Twins was the first time he’s allowed fewer than three runs since May 23rd. He also only lasted four innings.

Game Two: CC Sabathia vs. Brad Keller

Sabathia’s main problem this season is losing effectiveness once he gets into the third time through the order. That’s a thing a lot of pitchers go through, but it’s been pretty much the main issue with him. For this game, he’s getting an extra day of rest thanks to the Mets game rain out shifting the schedule. Who knows if that’ll help Sabathia, but it’s a possibility.

First up on the list of random Royals pitchers is Brad Keller. He’s made nine starts this year, but has appeared in 21 other games out of the bullpen. He’s been a regular in Kansas City’s rotation since the end of May, and has been decent. He thew a scoreless innings against the Yankees back on May 18th in his only career meeting with New York.

Game Three: Luis Severino vs. Heath Fillmyer

Were the season to end today, Severino would deservedly be in award conversations. He’s been excellent. His recent starts have not been, however. In his last three outings, the Yankees’ ace has allowed 14 runs, 13 earned, in a combined 15 innings. The Royals are a team that you would think he could get back on track against, so there is that.

Fillmyer is another recent addition to the rotation after having spent time in the bullpen. He made his major-league debut near the end of June, and had made two starts earlier this month. Last time out, Fillmyer gave up one earned run in 6.2 innings in the second of those two starts. It should be noted that was against the Tigers, and one would think the Yankees’ offense is a tad better than the Tigers.

Game Four: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Burch Smith

Tanaka is fresh off a shutout against the Rays. He’s been good in general since returning from the DL. It’s only three starts, but he’s allowed just five runs in 19.2 innings while striking out 19 hitters.

Last on the list of MLB The Show fake franchise mode players from 2024 is Burch Smith. This is Smith’s second career season in the majors, having previously thrown 36.1 innings with the Padres all the way back in 2013. He entered the rotation in mid-July and has a 6.17 ERA in three starts. That’s not great, but it’s better than where his ERA was back in June, so maybe he’s better?