The series finale that the Yankees were supposed to play in Kansas City against the Royals at 8:10 EST was postponed because of rain. Monday’s game will now be played on Monday, August 25. The rainout will lead to the Yankees returning to Kansas City the day after their series against the Chicago White Sox ends in the Bronx and before they start a three-game series in Detroit.
The Yankees (31-31) had the opportunity to end the series on a positive note with a series split, since a victory would have meant they would have won the first and fourth games of the series, but the Yankees ended up losing two out of three games to the Royals, who are now 31-32. In addition, in their last 10 games the Yankees have only gone 3-7, and have averaged only 2.5 runs in those games. Put in different terms, the Yankees have scored more than four runs only once in their previous 11 games.
With three out of their five starters coming out of spring training currently on the disabled list, it seemed like starting pitching might have been the main issue, but scoring has been by far the major weakness. Brian McCann, Alfonso Soriano, Brian Roberts, and Derek Jeter have all not hit like they are capable of. The Yankees are currently 22nd in all of baseball in runs scored (249), 18th in on-base percentage (.315) and 18th in slugging percentage (.382).
They surely are not living up to their Bronx Bombers nickname right now since Mark Teixeira (10 homers) is the only player who has hit more than seven homers. Brian McCann, Yangervis Solarte and Teixeira are the only players with more than 25 RBIs after 38 percent of the season has gone by. Also, Solarte, who was the last player to make the roster out of spring training and had previously only been in the minor leagues, is leading the team in average (.299), RBIs (28) and on-base percentage (.368).
The AL East has struggled as a whole, as the Baltimore Orioles are in second place with a 32-20 record. The Toronto Blue Jays, who have been the biggest surprise in all of baseball, are in first place with a 39-26 record as a result of the best offense in the league and a pitching staff that has performed much better than expected. The Tampa Bay Rays, who were expected to finish first or second in the division, have the worst record in baseball largely because of injuries and players that have underperformed. Rounding out the division is the Red Sox, who after winning the World Series last season, were due for a regression, and that is exactly what has happened as they have a 28-35 record and are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
The Yankees will now be starting a six-game series on the west coast with three games against the Seattle Mariners (34-29 after winning eight of their past 10 games) and three games against the Oakland Athletics (39-25). Oakland’s record a half-game better than Toronto’s for the best record in the American League. The Mariners and Robinson Cano previously won three games at Yankee Stadium and the Yankees will be facing their former All-Star second baseman for the first time at Safeco Park.
To try and keep pace with the Orioles and Blue Jays, it is important that the Yankees go 3-3 or better on this road trip. The Yankees will be facing five very good pitchers in their next six games including Hisashi Iwakuma, Roenis Elias, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez, but the offense needs to find a way to take advantage of when the pitchers don’t execute their pitches.
In the first game of the series against the Mariners, at 10:10 PM EST on Tuesday, Vidal Nuno will pitch for the Yankees and Iwakuma will pitch for the Mariners. Nuno, who has a 5.33 ERA on the season while relying on off-speed pitches, allowed two runs in 4.2 innings pitched in his last start while not being able to keep his pitch count down. In three previous starts against the Yankees, Iwakuma has one win and a 3.18 ERA.
In Game Two, Masahiro Tanaka (9-1) will pitch for the Yankees and the 6-10 righty Chris Young will start for the Mariners. In Game Three, Chase Whitley, who impressively has a 2.42 ERA in five starts, will try to win his second game as a Yankee. Elias, the rookie from Cuba, will pitch for Seattle.