The Royals were 2-5 against the Yankees last year, including a sweep at home to a lineup that had Vernon Wells hitting third, with names like Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, Chris Stewart, and Chris Nelson peppering the lineup. The Yankees bulked up with free agents this winter, although there are still enough old-timers to provide weak spots in the lineup.
Jeremy Guthrie has been pitching on thin ice all year, and while he still leads the league in home runs allowed and has 5.18 FIP, he has pitched well his last three times out. Over his last 20 innings pitched, he has given up just three runs, and just one home run. Guthrie has given up four runs or fewer in all but one start this year, one of just eleven American League pitchers to have 11 or more starts with four runs or fewer given up.
The Yankees start right-handed rookie Chase Whitley, a former 15th round pick out of Troy University in Alabama. Here's the scouting report from our sister site, Pinstripe Alley:
Chase Whitley is not a flashy prospect. His fastball is underwhelming, stuff and velocity-wise, and the only plus-pitch he really features is his changeup...
Whitley is not going to blow anybody away and he's not going to put up gaudy numbers, but he will be adequate. If the Yankees are lucky and he pitches to his abilities, I wouldn't be surprised if he pitched around 90 FIP-.
Whitley can touch the low-90s and has sinking action to his stuff. He has a slider, sinker, and change-up, but it sounds like only the change-up is a decent offering. Whitley was a reliever almost his entire minor league career until this year. He has done well in four Major League starts thus far due to not walking anyone (3 walks in 19 innings) and a groundball rate near 50%. Whether he can keep that up remains to be seen, but the Royals will not exactly be the most challenging lineup he will face.
Will the Royals reach .500 again this year?
This poll is closed