YANKEES (32-17) AT ROYALS (17-32)
8:15 p.m. ET; FSKC, WPIX, MLB.TV
The New York Yankees will be looking to continue their hot pace, while the Kansas City Royals will be looking to win a series for the first time since April 12-14 as the two clubs start a three-game series in Kansas City on Friday night.
The Yankees have won five straight and nine out of 10, following their 6-5 victory at Baltimore on Thursday. Aaron Hicks walked with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth to push across the winning run. The rally came after the Yankees gave up a 5-1 lead entering the bottom of the eighth, as Tommy Kahnle gave up a three-run homer to Renato Nunez to tie the score.
The Yankees are now 15-5 in the month of May. At 32-17, they are one game behind Minnesota for the best record in baseball. They’ve done this with an All-Star team on the injured list.
The latest addition to the IL is starting pitcher CC Sabathia, who was placed on the 10-day IL Thursday with right knee inflammation. His spot in the rotation likely will be filled by a committee from the bullpen.
“It’ll kind of come down to usage,” Boone said of possible replacements. “We’ve got guys on the roster now that can give us length. It’ll be depending on what we did the day before and what we’ve needed leading up to it. We’ll just kind of mix and match with what we have.”
The Yankees have not announced a starter officially, though Boone suggested that Chad Green (0-2, 12.41 ERA) is a strong possibility. Greene, who turns 28 on Friday, has appeared in 14 games but pitched only 12 1/3 innings, allowing 18 runs (17 earned).
He is 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in seven career appearances, all out of the bullpen, against the Royals.
The Royals split a day-night doubleheader and a two-game series in St. Louis on Wednesday. They had lost their previous five series. For the season, they have split two series, lost 12 and won only two (against Cleveland in mid-April, and the season-opening series against the White Sox).
The Royals will send Jakob Junis (3-5, 5.69 ERA) to the mound Friday. He is coming off his longest outing of the season after going seven innings at the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday. He gave up five runs (four earned) on six hits with six strikeouts and two walks against the Angels, but took the loss in a 6-3 defeat.
“I was commanding my fastball to both sides of the plate,” Junis said. “I felt like I was in a groove. Right where Maldy (Martin Maldonado) was setting up, I was throwing it in there. Walks are going to happen. As long as you can limit them to one or two a game, usually it’s not going too bad. I never want five like I did last time.”
After having walked a career-high five batters in his previous start, Junis didn’t walk a batter until the sixth inning against the Angels. The biggest problem was the home run ball. He gave up a 473-foot blast to Mike Trout and a two-run home shot to Shohei Ohtani.
“There’s definitely frustration any time you give up a home run like that in the sixth inning,” Junis said of Ohtani’s blast. “It’s not the first time that’s happened to me. It’s been an issue that I’ve been working on, trying to get better at. All I can say is at least it wasn’t a middle-middle pitch.”
Junis is 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees.
Prior to the Angels series, the Royals had gone four straight series with a rubber game giving them a chance to win the series. Counting the loss in the second game of the doubleheader to the Cardinals, that’s five straight missed opportunities to claim a series win.
–Field Level Media