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New York Yankees Series Preview: Leaving New York was never easy

The Yankees have 14 players on the IL and are still leading their division. Not great for the Royals this weekend.

MLB: Game Two-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
May 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit (45) hits an RBI single against the Baltimore Orioles during the seventh inning of game two of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have 14 players on the injured list currently, and if you could wave a magic wand to make them all healthy, those 14 players would make up the core of a team that could challenge for a division title. Names like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, James Paxton and Luis Severino make up a portion of the list. And yet, they’re still in first place without any of them. They may carry a very high payroll still, but they’re doing it with guys like Gio Urshela, Luke Voit and Cameron Maybin providing contributions for them. Yes, this is a very scary team because they’re going to get healthy at some point and that’s bad news for the rest of baseball. They can hit, they can pitch and while they aren’t especially good defensively, they still get it done and are one of the very best teams in baseball, even with their current depleted team.

Meet the Yankees

Royals vs. Yankees Tale of the Tape

Category Royals Yankees
Category Royals Yankees
Winning % .347 .653
Team wRC+ 93 109
Team xFIP 4.72 4.02
2019 Head to Head Wins 1 3
Highest fWAR Hunter Dozier, 2.0 Domingo German, 1.8

Yankees Projected Lineup

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
DJ LeMahieu 2B 193 .324 .375 .451 7.3% 13.0% 121 1.3
Aaron Hicks CF 33 .192 .333 .308 18.2% 30.3% 79 0.0
Luke Voit 1B 213 .263 .376 .503 13.1% 23.9% 134 0.8
Gary Sanchez C 137 .276 .350 .675 8.0% 25.5% 164 1.3
Kendrys Morales DH 153 .198 .307 .267 11.8% 14.4% 64 -0.5
Gleyber Torres SS 195 .302 .345 .564 6.2% 21.0% 136 1.6
Gio Urshela 3B 128 .333 .383 .470 5.5% 16.4% 129 1.0
Clint Fraizer RF 128 .258 .289 .517 4.7% 26.6% 105 0.5
Brett Gardner LF 185 .227 .314 .436 10.3% 13.0% 98 0.7

Yankees Projected Bench

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG BB% K% wRC+ fWAR
Austin Romine C 73 .197 .208 .268 1.4% 20.5% 21 -0.3
Thairo Estrada INF 43 .300 .333 .575 4.7% 25.6% 138 0.4
Cameron Maybin OF 67 .250 .373 .339 16.4% 25.4% 100 0.3

Yankees Key Relievers

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP fWAR
Aroldis Chapman 21 19.2 0 1 39.2% 6.3% 1.83 1.80 0.9
Zack Britton 23 22.1 2 0 24.4% 10.0% 2.42 2.91 0.5
Adam Ottavino 22 23.1 2 1 32.3% 18.8% 1.54 4.48 0.3

Projected Starting Pitchers

Friday May 24th - 7:15pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Chad Green 14 12.1 0 2 20.0% 7.7% 12.41 5.53 -0.5
Nestor Cortes 2 6.0 0 0 33.3% 7.4% 9.00 2.98 0.0
Jakob Junis 10 55.1 3 5 19.1% 8.5% 5.69 4.63 0.2

The Yankees are turning to an opener for the second time in a week with all their rotation injuries and Chad Green will get the nod. After his dominant last two seasons with the Yankees, many thought he was going to continue that success, but 2019 has been ahrd for him with tons of hits allowed, way too many home runs and pretty much everything going wrong. He even had a stint in AAA. Since he’s come back, he’s pitched four times to mixed results and when he worked as an opener on Sunday, it didn’t go great against the Rays. Nestor Cortes got the bulk innings in that game and had his ups and downs. He gave up three runs in four innings but did strike out six batters. He’s a traditional crafty lefty with a fastball that tops out in the low-90s and four or five pitches he mixes in. Cortes is someone I was hoping the Royals would snag in the Rule 5 draft last season, so it’ll be interesting to me at least how he performs against KC.

Jakob Junis was better in his last start, reaching the seven inning mark for the first time this season. He still gave up five runs and two home runs and still ran into the same issues as he gave up three runs in the sixth inning on two hits and a walk. He only got eight swings and misses on 99 pitches, which marked the third time in his last four starts that he couldn’t reach the double digit mark there. He did get back to throwing more strikes, which was a good sign after he walked five in his previous start. Junis faced the Yankees in New York earlier this year and was only able to get four swings and misses on 87 pitches and gave up five runs in 5.1 innings, so this is a test for him. It’s a much friendler park in Kansas City, but this is a lineup that has a chance to do some damage on him if he can’t figure things out.

Saturday May 25th - 1:15pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
J.A. Happ 10 52.1 3 3 18.2% 5.9% 5.16 4.92 0.2
Danny Duffy 5 28.2 3 1 18.9% 9.0% 3.45 4.81 0.5

On one hand, Happ is healthy, which puts him ahead of three of the guys the Yankees were counting on heading into the season. On the other hand, he’s been pretty rough this year. He’s given up too many hits, way too many home runs and he just hasn’t gotten enough strikeouts. His fastball velocity is down about a mile per hour from last season, might be a reason why the pitch is moving more horizontally and getting right into some swing paths causing big problems. He’s allowed a .701 slugging percentage on the pitch with 10 home runs allowed in just 100 plate appearances ending on it. He’s still been tough on lefties, but righties are hitting .273/.325/.571 against him with 12 home runs. The Royals have some tough right-handed bats to get through, so if the weather cooperates in this one, they might have a chance to light up Happ. If you play daily fantasy, Jorge Soler seems like a good bet to get you some points against Happ.

Danny Duffy has been the beneficiary of some solid run support over his last three starts, getting 12, 11 and five runs leading to three straight victories, and after his up and down first start, Duffy’s been pretty solid in his last four with a 22 percent strikeout rate and just eight percent walk rate and a 3.04 ERA. He picked up 14 swings and misses against an Angels lineup that had been hitting really well, so that was very nice to see from him. The Yankees have struggled with lefties this year with an OPS of more than 100 points lower against them than righties and only seven home runs. Like Happ, the fastball velocity is concerning. After averaging 93 MPH last year, he’s down to just 91.6 MPH this year, but where he’s been so much better is on his slider and curve, which have both saved him quite a bit and have a chance to help him cut through this Yankees lineup.

Sunday May 26th - 1:15pm

Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Pitcher G IP W L K% BB% ERA xFIP WAR
Domingo German 10 55.1 9 1 25.6% 7.2% 2.60 3.78 1.8
Jorge Lopez 10 50.2 0 5 21.3% 8.9% 6.04 4.56 -0.2

Domingo German has been the saving grace of this pitching staff, stepping in to the rotation and looking fantastic. It’s a little surprising given that he came into this year with a 5.22 career ERA in 100 innings with 42 walks, but he had struck out 120, so we knew the stuff was there to be successful. He’s also had a decision in all 10 of his appearances, which doesn’t necessarily mean anything but is interesting to me at least, so I’m telling you too. He does it with spin rate as his velocity isn’t anything special, but man, the 2,500 RPM on his curve, which he throws more than anything, gets him a 44 percent whiff rate and has been hell on opponents with a .118 average allowed and .176 slugging percentage. Maybe it’s just the history, but you have to feel like a clunker is coming eventually for a guy who was ticketed for a much smaller role, if any, prior to the season. He did give up three runs on six hits with two homers over six innings to the Royals back in April, so maybe they’ve got the secret sauce against him. Of course, he also struck out nine and walked nobody in that game, so maybe not.

After two rough starts, the Royals gave Jorge Lopez a little break, which gave him a chance out of the bullpen in the second game of Wednesday’s double header against the Cardinals. I have to say that his 31-pitch outing didn’t make me think any less that he’s a reliever. He averaged 95 on his fastball and hit 97 with it. The down side is that he didn’t get any swings and misses, which is weird, but he was very effective over two innings. Maybe the time off will help him get back on track because he was in a bad way since a solid start, posting a 7.67 ERA in his last six starts with nine home runs allowed in 31.2 innings. He’d dealt with 58 baserunners in that time, which means that the 7.67 ERA might have actually been best case scenario. This might be one of his last shots if he pitches poorly.


The forecast is less than friendly for this weekend, so we’ll see if they even play three, but if they do and it’s a normal series, I think the Royals can get one against Happ, but will drop the other two and continue their trend of not winning series.


Who takes more games this series? Yankees? Royals? Rain?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    Royals Sweep
    (7 votes)
  • 25%
    Yankees Sweep
    (27 votes)
  • 17%
    Royals Win Two of Three
    (18 votes)
  • 30%
    Yankees Win Two of Three
    (32 votes)
  • 20%
    It never, ever, ever stops raining
    (21 votes)
105 votes total Vote Now