It's Ervin Santana against old man Andy Pettitte this afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
As we have come to expect from an old left-hander, Pettitte has owned the Royals over his career. He's made 23 starts against KC and his 3.40 ERA is his lowest mark against any team in the AL. In just over 161 innings, he's struck out 113 Royals and walked just 36. Like his ERA, his 3.14 SO/BB walk ratio is also the best against any AL team.
(Maybe it's my imagination, but it just seems to me that every lefty with a sliver of talent has owned the Royals over the last 20 years. Although I could be crazy. In his major league debut, Pettitte relieved Melido Perez, struck out Joe Vitiello and gave up a run-scoring single to Phil Hiatt. We were all much younger then.)
Pettitte made a start against KC back in May and threw seven innings of five hit ball where he struck out seven. He surrendered two runs - one on a Billy Butler home run and another on a Lorenzo Cain groundout in the third. I note the following only because it's a very Royal inning from when they were scuffling in May that featured the numbers seven through nine hitters:
Elliot Johnson singles on a weak grounder to the pitcher.
Johnson steals 2B.
Alcides Escobar hits a weak grounder to 3B for an out. Johnson advances to 3B.
Cain grounds out to SS. Johnson scores.
Alex Gordon strikes out swinging.
Good thing we don't see innings like that anymore.
The Royals counter with Ervin Santana. With James Shields' struggles of late, Santana has taken the crown of "Best Royals Starter." Since the first of June, he's made seven starts, thrown just over 47 innings and struck out 37 against just 13 walks. Most importantly, he's surrendered only three home runs over that stretch. His ERA in those seven starts is a shiny 2.27.
His Game Scores by date
June 2 - 72
June 7 - 65
June 13 - 70
June 18 - 71
June 25 - 52
June 30 - 49
July 6 - 54
OK, the first half was better than the second half, but performances like that are what keep teams in games. Somehow the Royals lost three of those starts. It makes a little more sense when you learn they failed to reach the magic four run threshold in all three of those losses.
Game time is 12:05. Join us.