Heading into this season, Adam Warren looked to be stepping into the fifth slot in the rotation primarily as a result of injuries, serving the role of Ivan Nova Placeholder more than anything else. Through his first eight starts totaling 44.1 innings, Warren did not look particularly good. He sported just a 5.68 K/9, striking out just 14.4% of the batters he faced, while walking 9.6% of the batters he faced, good for a 3.65 K/9. His 4.26 ERA had been deflated by a .279 BABIP, making him the only full-time starting pitcher in the Yankees' rotation this season with a BABIP under .339. Given that information, it's safe to say that his 4.68 FIP, 4.62 xFIP, and 4.86 SIERA are more indicative of the pitcher Warren has been than his already pedestrian ERA.
None of that mattered today as the Royals showed little patience against the 27-year-old right-hander.
Intent on channeling the ghosts of Cy Albers, Cy Deduno, and Cy Milone,
Adam Cy Warren baffled the Royals' batsmen tonight. In the first three innings, no Royal batter reached base safely. Mike Moustakas broke up perfection with an infield single that saw him leg out a grounder deep into the teeth of the shift to Stephen Drew on the grass behind second. He was stranded with little fight. The Royals went down in order in the fifth, too, making for an ugly start to the game in which the Royals trailed from the bottom of the first on through to the final out.
In the first, Mark Teixeira cranked his 14th dong, the second-most in the American League. The two runs the Yankees got from that home run were all they would need to defeat the Royals, who have now lost three straight. Of course, those two runs were not the entirety of the Yankees' offensive attack.
Despite giving up a two-run shot to left-center (to a section of the park that measures 399 feet to the fence) in the first, Jason Vargas actually looked very good in his first start back from a stint on the Disabled List with a strained flexor muscle. Working on a 75-pitch limit, Vargas struck out the side in the first inning and then struck down a batter apiece in the next three innings. The one walk that Vargas allowed happened to come in the first, when Alex Rodriguez drew a full-count pass with Mark Teixeira on deck. Vargas then proffered an 0-1 fastball registering 88-MPH on the gun that was left over the middle of the plate. Teixeira muscled the ball into the Royals' bullpen, making Vargas pay for both of his mistakes with one swing of the bat.
Joe Blanton, who was set aside specifically to work in tandem with Vargas today, entered the game in the fifth and succinctly showed anyone looking for him to supplant the struggling Jeremy Guthrie in the rotation that those horses best be held. Trying to maintain just a two-run deficit, Blanton quickly yielded three runs, all while being the beneficiary of two spectacular catches from Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain to get him out of the inning.
With the Yankees holding a 5 - 0 lead in the top of the sixth, Paulo Orlando stepped to the plate against
Adam Cy Warren and clubbed his first major-league home run, clubbing one the other way into the bleachers in right field. Unfortunately for the Royals, no one was on base, and the home run marked the full extent of the damage the Royals would do against.
Joe Girardi turned to mediocre reliever Justin Wilson after Warren recorded the first out of the seventh, despite the fact that Warren had only thrown 88 pitches. Wilson recorded his two outs, and then Girardi turned to his shutdown duo of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. On a night when the Royals were already showing impatience at the plate, Betances made easy work of the Royals in the eighth.
With one down against Andrew Miller in the ninth, Mike Moustakas reached base, hitting a broken bat flare into shallow center for his second single of the night. Lorenzo Cain followed with a fluky single that worked its way past the closing mitt of Chase Headley. Miller got Eric Hosmer to chase a slider in the dirt for the second out of the inning and followed by getting Kendrys Morales to fly out to the warning track the other way in right.
Yost turned to Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis to pitch in the seventh and eighth because the Royals were only down four runs against the Yankees with two of the best relievers in the game warming up in the home bullpen. That's not entirely fair, of course. Jeremy Guthrie's ineffectiveness on Monday meant that Franklin Morales and Jason Frasor were absolutely unavailable today. With Greg Holland looking bad and getting work in on Monday, Herrera and Davis still needed to get some work in, as Davis hadn't pitched since last Wednesday and Herrera last saw action a week ago.
For three straight games now, the Royals' offense has not shown up to the park. In each of those games, the pitching didn't either.
There are children in the Heartland who were born on Sunday and have never seen the Royals win a game. When will the national nightmare end?