After an 8-10 start riddled with countless injuries, the Yankees have suddenly won 24 of their last 31 games with a depleted roster to catapult themselves into a 2.5-game lead in the division race. New York can extend that lead this weekend with a very winnable series in Kansas City against a Royals team that is just 17-32 on the year. Can the Yankees continue their unlikely run by closing their series at Kauffman Stadium with a win on Sunday?
German turning into unlikely ace for Yankees
With James Paxton, C.C. Sabathia and Luis Severino all spending time on the injured list, right-hander Domingo German has emerged as the unlikely ace in the starting rotation. The second-year starter has made a major leap forward this season, compiling an impressive 9-1 overall record and a 2.60 ERA through 10 appearances (nine starts). German has reigned in his command and cut down on his walk-rate, but some regression could be on the way for the 25-year-old. While German is still striking out better than a batter per inning, he’s benefited from a .229 BABIP, which is almost 80 points lower than the .300 BABIP he posted in 2018, and his 3.81 xFIP is more than a run higher than his current ERA.
These two did what they do best in Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/3YYPwoDcQX
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 25, 2019
German’s lone loss of the season came against the Royals on April 18. He allowed three earned runs and was victimized by two long balls in six innings of work versus the Royals.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Royals’ roster is batting .261 in 21 plate appearances off of German. StatCast projects KC hitters for an expected batting average of .284 and an expected slugging percentage of .542 versus German for Sunday’s start.
Duffy pitching well for Royals after late start to year
Starting pitching has been a major issue for the Royals this season. Kansas City starters have compiled a 5.39 earned run average this season — 25th in baseball. That’s half a run worse than the mark in 2018. Three men in the rotation — Jakob Junis, Homer Bailey and Jorge Lopez — have earned run averages of 5.69 or worse.
Kansas City will counter with 30-year-old lefty Danny Duffy, who is off to a fine start after a late beginning to the season. Through five starts, Duffy has allowed three runs or less on four occasions, winning each of his last three decisions. He comes in with a 3-1 overall record to go along with a 3.45 ERA and he’s racked up three quality outings over his last four starts.
Duffy has performed well against the Yankees as of late, posting a 3.15 ERA in five appearances (three starts) against them dating back to 2016. However, his last start against New York didn’t go so well, as he gave up five earned runs in four innings in a loss last season.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Yankees’ roster is batting .241 in 59 plate appearances off of Duffy, who sports a 6.84 FIP heading into this matchup despite striking out Yankees hitters 27.1 percent of the time. StatCast projects New York for an expected batting average of .310 and an expected slugging percentage of .641 off of Duffy heading into Sunday’s showdown.
- Yankees are 6-0 in their last 6 road games.
- Yankees are 7-1 in their last 8 during game 3 of a series.
- Yankees are 25-7 in their last 32 overall.
- Royals are 13-49 in their last 62 during game 3 of a series.
- Royals are 5-21 in their last 26 Sunday games.
- Royals are 10-47 in their last 57 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600