Kansas City Royals (76-79 SU, 74-81 RL, 73-76-6 O/U) vs. New York Yankees (86-69 SU, 84-71 RL, 81-71-3 O/U)
MLB: Monday, September 25, 2017 at 1:05 p.m. EST
The Line: New York Yankees -170/Kansas City Royals +153. Total: 9.
The New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals will be making up a postponed game from May 25 when they square off at Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon. New York dropped two of three against Toronto over the weekend. The Royals have won three of their last five contests but got blown out by the White Sox on Sunday.
Kansas City once had ideas of playing playoff baseball but it is now 5.5 games behind Minnesota for the American League’s second wild-card spot one week remaining. The Royals saw their postseason hopes all but come to an end when they lost at Chicago on both Friday and Sunday. In Sunday’s 7-1 setback, Kansas City recorded only five hits and Ian Kennedy allowed five runs over 5.1 innings of work. Outfielder Melky Cabrera is 8-for-17 in his last five games.
Right-hander Jakob Junis (8-2, 4.05 ERA) is taking the mound for K.C. on Monday. Junis last suffered a loss on June 29 and has allowed three or fewer earned runs in each of his last six outings. The 25-year-old rookie earned a win at Toronto this past Wednesday by limiting the Blue Jays to four runs–two earned–and three hits in 6.1 innings. Junis is making his first career start against the Yankees and he is 6-2 with a 4.50 ERA on the road.
Wild card bound?
The Yankees have already assured themselves of a spot in the postseason and are holding onto the outside chance that they can win the American League East with a strong finish. New York will try to pick up momentum going into the playoffs, almost certainly as a wild card, starting the final week with Monday’s makeup game. The Yankees fell five games behind Boston in the AL East when they lost to the Blue Jays on Sunday. Their magic number to clinch home-field advantage in the wild-card game is two. Right fielder Aaron Judge, who has 48 home runs, is one homer away from tying the rookie record set by Mark McGwire in 1987.
“It’s getting fairly large with seven games to go,” manager Joe Girardi said of his team’s deficit in the division. “Obviously, we’re going to keep playing, but I think you start to think ahead a little bit, too, as you move forward and try to set up what possibly could be us playing (in the wild card game).”
C.C. Sabathia (12-5, 3.81 ERA) will oppose Junis on Monday. The left-hander has given up two or fewer runs in five of his last six starts and earned a win last time out by holding the Twins to two runs and six hits in six innings. Sabathia has completed more than six innings just once in his last 13 outings.
The Kansas City Royals are:
- 3-9 in their last 12 road games against teams with winning records
- 7-19 in their last 26 road games against teams with home winning percentages over .600
- 0-5 in their last five games that are the first in a series
The New York Yankees are:
- 11-4 in their last 15 overall
- 8-1 in their last nine home games
- 12-5 in their last 17 games against teams with losing records
Sabathia went 6.2 innings at Kansas City on May 16, pitching scoreless ball while giving up just five hits to earn the win. Kansas City is 3-9 in its last 12 on the road against winning opponents, 7-19 in their last 26 on the road against opponents with home winning percentages over .600, and 0-5 in their last five series openers. The Yankees are 11-4 in their last 15 overall, 8-1 in their last nine at home, 12-5 in their last 17 against losing opponents, 11-4 in their last 15 against right-handed starters, 77-36 in the last 113 meetings between the two teams, and 42-16 in their last 58 at home against the Royals. Look for those trends to continue.