Well, we’re here. After 159 games of Yankees baseball, we’ve reached the final series of the season. It hasn’t been the most fun season for Yankees’ fans — to say the least — but it’ll be sad to not have their games to tune into during the cold winter months. So as disappointing as this team may have been, savor these last three games against the Royals.
Unlike in the past two series where the Yankees’ opponent had something to play for, these last couple games aren’t really going to mean anything for either team in the standings. The Royals come into this weekend dead last in the AL Central with no chance of improving on that. They have struggled this season and only have the even worse Oakland Athletics team to thank for not being the worst team in all of baseball.
Before we get things started for the final series of the season, here’s a look at the pitching matchups we’ll see this weekend.
Friday: Carlos Rodón vs. TBD (8:10 pm ET)
Rodón’s first season as a Yankee has not been one to remember, but he has a chance to build on a solid recent run and go into the offseason on a high note. He’s been better since his August IL stint, and has also shown swing and miss stuff in recent starts, striking out 23 combined in his last three games.
Between injuries and general meh-ness, the Royals don’t exactly have a full rotation, and haven’t confirmed who they’ll be starting in the series opener. Even beyond that, they’re coming off having played parts of two games on Thursday, having played part of their rain-affected Wednesday game yesterday. In some of these situations, they’ve used Steven Cruz as an opener, but we’ll see what they do.
Saturday: Clarke Schmidt vs. Jordan Lyles (7:10 pm ET)
Having gone into spring training as part of a competition for the fifth start spot only to due Frankie Montas’ injury, Schmidt will end the year as one of just two Yankees’ starters to have spent the entire year as a regular starter. Considering the other is Cy Young favorite Gerrit Cole, that’s nothing to shake a stick at. It’s been an up and down year for him, but spending the entire season up and available to start every five days has been a major blessing for the rotation.
Also speaking of Montas, we’ll note here that the Yankees are supposedly looking to use him at some point this weekend for a couple innings.
Lyles has been extremely not good for the Royals since signing a two-year deal with them last offseason. He’s put up a 6.24 ERA and a 5.66 FIP in 30 games this season. That includes the Yankees getting him for five runs on nine hits back in June.
Sunday: Michael King vs. Zack Greinke (3:10 pm ET)
The Yankees were somewhat forced into it due to injuries, but the development of King into a possible legit rotation piece going forward has been fun to follow. He’s been good for most of his run since he began making starts, but he’s been especially good recently. Over his last two starts, he’s struck out 18 in 13 innings, allowing just six hits in that time.
The series finale could be the last ever major league game for the 39-year old Greinke. His 5.18 ERA tells part of the story, but he also comes in with a 1-15 record, with the Royals’ offense not able to help him on the occasions where he has put in solid outings. While most of us would rather the Yankees win, it could be interesting to see the potential future Hall of Famer go out in blaze of glory, if this is it.