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Game 32 Preview: New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals

Mariano Rivera returns to KC for the first time since tearing his ACL at Kauffman Stadium last summer. Robinson Cano returns to KC for the first time since was mercilessly booed by Royals fans at the Home Run Derby. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Stewart. Lyle Overbay. Brennan Bosch. Chris Nelson. How can the Royals possibly hope to compete with large market clubs with stars such as these?

These aren't your grandfather's Yankees. Murderer's Row has been replaced by the pop-gun squad. And yet over a month into the season, the Bronx Bombers are in first place with the second best record in the league. How are they doing it?

Much like the Royals, the Yankees are relying heavily on good starting pitching. Yankees starters have a 3.61 ERA, not much worse than the Royals 3.41 starters ERA. The Yankees actually score fewer runs than the Royals, averaging just 4.21 runs per game, to the Royals 4.32. Their on-base percentage is nearly identical. However the Yanks have hit almost twice as many home runs (minor league free agent Lyle Overbay would lead the Royals with his five home runs).

The Yankees pythag is 18-15. The Royals is 18-13. The Yankees have also gotten to beat up on the Blue Jays (6-1 against Toronto) and Houston (2-1 against the Astros), although it should be noted the Royals also got to play Toronto and dropped two of three.

But the point is, these two teams are not that different, and the Royals should not be intimidated by a lineup featuring Jayson Nix on a regular basis. So go to it Wade Davis.

Other news:

  • The umpires in the Astros/Angels game last night were complete idiots.
  • Senator John McCain introduces legislation to end sports blackout rules in publicly-supported stadiums.
  • Tonight's game is on MLB Network. So tune in, if you like listening to Harold Reynolds, you masochist.
  • Boo Cano.