The Yankees wrap up their six game homestand starting tonight by welcoming the Kansas City Royals into town for the first and only time this season. In the beginning of the month, the Yanks and Royals split four games in KC. Since then, the Royals have gone 7-6 against the Red Sox, White Sox, Orioles, and Diamondbacks.
WHOM THEY’LL FACE
The Yankees will face two pitchers they faced back in the Midwest in Felipe Paulino and Luke Hochevar. Luis Mendonza, whom the Yankees haven’t faced yet, will close out the series on Wednesday. The Yanks will send out Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and Andy Pettitte to counter.
Paulino’s started just three games this year and tossed 18.2 innings. So far, they’ve been 18.2 good innings. He’s got a 10.13 K/9 (28% K), 2.41 BB/9 (6.7% BB) and has an E/F/x split of 1.93/2.22/2.77. His strand rate his high at 86.7% and his GB% is pretty low at 43.8%
We can argue that Hochevar has been pretty damn unlucky. His FIP is a very acceptable 3.68 (90 FIP-), but his ERA is a ridiculous 7.02 thanks to a strand rate below 55% and a BABIP of .354. If he can’t cure the Yankees’ woes with regards to hitting with runners on, nothing can.
If Felipe Paulino’s been golden in his small sample, Luis Mendoza‘s been the exact opposite in his few starts. In 23.2 innings (5 GS), Mendoza’s walked more than he’s struck out and surrendered almost as many runs (23) as innings he’s pitched.
WHERE THEY STAND
On the hitting side, not counting yesterday’s game, the Royals are 10th in the AL in runs (160), 13th in home runs (28), 4th in batting average (.259), 8th in OBP (.316), 8th in slugging (.397), 9th in wOBA (.312), and 9th in wRC+ (95).
On the pitching side, they’re 8th in K% (18.6), 12th in BB% (9.6), 12th in ERA (4.39), and 6th in FIP (3.95).
On paper, the Yankees should win this series. There is almost no excuse for the not smacking Hochevar and Mendonza around. But, the way the Yankees are playing, nothing would surprise me.
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