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Wild Card Watch: September 3, 2013

Good morning Yankees fans! I am back with another Wild Card Watch! Yesterday the Yankees were 3.5 games back and needed to gain some ground. Did they? Here’s the results from last night along with the final scores of our Wild Card contending teams:

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Wild Card Final Scores (WC Teams are in BOLD):

White Sox 1, Yankees 9: David Huff pitched 5.1 IP of one run ball, Derek Jeter drove in two runs and the Yankees scored a season high 8 runs in the 4th inning as they demolished the White Sox 9-1 to take game one of the three game set. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Chris Sale (10-12, 2.99 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.89 ERA)

Rays 2, Angels 11: Erick Aybar had a big night for the Angels, hitting a two-run homer and a two-run triple, Grant Green had his first MLB home run and Garret Richards navigated after a shaky start as the Angels hand the Rays their fifth straight loss with a 11-2 victory. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Matt Moore (14-3, 3.41 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.54 ERA).

Orioles 7, Indians 2: Nate McLouth and Matt Weiters both hit two-run HR’s and Bud Norris pitched seven innings of one run ball as the Orioles beat the Indians 7-2. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Chris Tillman (15-4, 3.61 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9, 3.95 ERA).

Rangers 2, Athletics 4: Coco Crisp hit the game deciding home run and Yoenis Cespedes HR’d as the A’s win 4-2. The Rangers and Angels are now tied for first in the AL West (which is why the Rangers are in the Wild Card standings. Tonight’s match-up: Martin Perez (8-3, 3.58 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (14-5, 2.94 ERA).

Royals 3, Mariners 1: Royals reliever Will Smith tossed 4.1 IP after starter Danny Duffy left the game in the fourth inning and the Royals got to King Felix, scoring three runs including a Mike Moustakas single as the Royals beat the Mariners 3-1. Tonight’s pitching match-up: Erasmo Ramirez (5-1, 5.18 ERA) vs. Bruce Chen (6-2, 2.79 ERA).

Come back tomorrow for another Wild Card Update!

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Joakim Soria should be a Yankees winter target

Could Joakim Soria be a missing piece in the Yankees bullpen?

Last week, ESPN reported that Joakim Soria was interested in signing with the Yankees–but not to be a closer. Instead he wanted to sign so he could set up for none other than Mariano Rivera who is returning for what many predict to be his final season in Yankee pinstripes. When it was announced Soria wanted to join the Yankees, there were some health concerns that everyone worried about, strictly the 2 Tommy John Surgeries he’s had in the last couple of years. Other than that, I believe that if the price is right the Yankees should go after Soria and make a deal.

Soria hasn’t played baseball since 2011 since he was out all year with TJ surgery in 2012, but if you look back at the five years he’s been in the Majors, his numbers aren’t bad. In 2007 at the ripe age of 23 years old he went 2-3 with a 2.48 ERA and had 17 saves in 62 saves. Keep in mind, the Royals don’t have a lot of save opportunities. Soria’s most impressive years were in 2008 and in 2010. In 2008, Soria had a 1.60 ERA with 42 saves under his belt. In 2010, he had a 1.78 ERA with 43 saves. He won an All-Star apperance, voted 10th in the Cy Young award and voted 19th in the MVP award.

Now, the reasons that the Yankees should be interested in Soria. One reason, he’s 28 years old. If the Yankees are going to sign someone, it has to be someone that is young and not in their mid to late thirties to early forties no offense any pitcher in the Yankees bullpen/rotation that’s 36 and over). Second of all, as a just in case measure if Mariano Rivera isn’t pitching like Mariano Rivera (which there is a small chance of happening), you’ll have Soria ready to pitch in the closer role, but don’t expect the Yankees to give up on Mo so easily.

There was one thing that I don’t agree with when it comes to what Soria is wanting–he wants to be in the 8th inning role, a role that is currently occupied by David Robertson. What could happen is that Soria could be used in the bullpen in the earlier innings and the 8th inning role could be Robertson’s to lose.  The Yankees have an option for the bullpen, especially since Rafael Soriano flew the coop so even though the Tommy John is a slight risk, I think that Soria could work out for the team. May I emphasize one more time Cashman, that Soria is young which is something that we are looking for.

Series Preview: Yankees vs. Royals | 5/21/12-5/23/12

Pitching Matchups

Monday, 5/21/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
Last Start: 5.0 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 6 K, 2 BB, 3 HR
On the Season: 3-5, 4.50 ERA / 5.28 FIP / 4.19 xFIP, 5.63 K/9, 3.19 BB/9 in 48.0 IP

Pitching for the Royals: Felipe Paulino, RHP
Last Start: 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 9 K, 2 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 1-1, 1.93 ERA / 2.22 FIP / 2.77 xFIP, 10.13 K/9, 2.41 BB/9 in 18.2 IP

Tuesday, 5/22/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Phil Hughes, RHP
Last Start: 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 5 K, 2 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 3-5, 5.23 ERA / 5.24 FIP / 4.42 xFIP, 8.49 K/9, 2.40 BB/9 in 41.1 IP

Pitching for the Royals: Luke Hochevar, RHP
Last Start: 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 6 K, 1 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 3-4, 7.02 ERA / 3.68 FIP / 4.20 xFIP, 6.37 K/9, 3.07 BB/9 in 41.0 IP

Wednesday, 5/23/12, 7:05pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Andy Pettitte, LHP
Last Start: 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 9 K, 1 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 1-1, 2.51 ERA / 4.08 FIP / 3.32 xFIP, 6.91 K/9, 2.51 BB/9 in 14.1 IP

Pitching for the Royals: Luis Mendoza, RHP
Last Start: 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 4 K, 3 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 2-2, 5.03 ERA / 4.59 FIP / 4.87 xFIP, 4.50 K/9, 5.56 BB/9 in 34.0 IP

NYY Offense

Who’s Hot

— Robinson Cano – 9 for 25 with 5 doubles, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB in the last 7 days

— Raul Ibanez – 6 for 22 with 2 doubles, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB in the last 7 days

Who’s Not

— Russell Martin – 1 for 13 with 1 HR, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K in the last 7 days

— Nick Swisher – 4 for 26 with 1 double, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 7 K in the last 7 days

— Derek Jeter – 5 for 25 with 1 BB, 2 K in the last 7 days

You could also throw in Andruw Jones and Alex Rodriguez, along with several others into this category.

KC Offense

Who’s Hot:

— Billy Butler – 9 for 25 with 2 doubles, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB in the last 7 days

— Jeff Francoeur – 9 for 28 with 3 doubles, 1 triple, 2 BB in the last 7 days

Who’s Not

— Alex Gordon – 4 for 31 with 1 double, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K in the last 7 days

— Eric Hosmer – 3 for 23 with 1 double, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K in the last 7 days

Enjoy the series everyone!

Series Preview: Yankees at Royals 5/3/12-5/6/12

Pitching Matchups

Thursday, 5/3/12, 8:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: David Phelps, RHP – Phelps will be making his first start of the season.
On the Season: 0-0, 3.57 ERA / 5.66 FIP / 4.11 xFIP, 7.13 K/9, 3.57 BB/9 in 17.2 IP

Pitching for the Royals: Danny Duffy, LHP
Last Start: 4.2 IP, 4 ER, 5 H, 5 K, 5 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 1-2, 3.63 ERA / 3.86 FIP / 3.79 xFIP, 10.38 K/9, 5.19 BB/9 in 17.1 IP

Friday, 5/4/12, 8:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: C.C. Sabathia, LHP
Last Start: 8.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 8 K, 2 BB, 1 HR
On the Season: 3-0, 4.58 ERA / 3.39 FIP / 2.83 xFIP, 9.68 K/9, 2.29 BB/9 in 35.1 IP

Pitching for the Royals: Bruce Chen, LHP
Last Start: 2.2 IP, 6 ER, 6 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 0-3, 4.23 ERA / 3.70 FIP / 4.27 xFIP, 5.86 K/9, 1.95 BB/9 in 27.2 IP

Saturday, 5/5/12, 7:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda, RHP
Last Start: 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 1 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 2-3, 3.69 ERA / 4.27 FIP / 3.97 xFIP, 5.68 K/9, 2.56 BB/9 in 31.2 IP

Pitching for the Royals: Felipe Paulino, RHP (Double-A numbers below)
Last Start: 6.1 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 5 K, 0 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 1-0, 2.61 ERA / 2.52 FIP, 11.32 K/9, 1.74 BB/9 in 10.1 IP

Sunday, 5/6/12, 2:10pm ET

Pitching for the Yankees: Phil Hughes, RHP
Last Start: 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 6 K, 1 BB, 2 HR
On the Season: 1-4, 7.48 ERA / 6.40 FIP / 4.48 xFIP, 9.55 K/9, 2.91 BB/9 in 21.2 IP

Pitching for the Royals: Luke Hochevar, RHP
Last Start: 4.0 IP, 9 ER, 12 H, 2 K, 3 BB, 0 HR
On the Season: 2-2, 7.36 ERA / 2.94 FIP / 4.49 xFIP, 6.31 K/9, 3.86 BB/9 in 25.2 IP

NYY Offense

Who’s Hot

— Alex Rodriguez – 9 for 22 with 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB in the last 7 days

— Curtis Granderson – 7 for 21 with 3 HR, 5 RBI, 1 double, 3 BB in the last 7 days

Who’s Not

— Russell Martin – 1 for 16 with 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K in the last 7 days

— Mark Teixeira – 2 for 22 with 1 RBI, 2 K in the last 7 days

KC Offense

Who’s Hot

— Alex Gordon – 8 for 19 with 3 doubles, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BB in the last 7 days

— Mike Moustakas – 7 for 19 with 1 double, 1 HR, 4 RBI in the last 7 days

— Billy Butler – 7 for 20 with 1 HR, 3 RBI in the last 7 days

Who’s Not

— Eric Hosmer – 1 for 22 with 1 double, 2 RBI, 2 K in the last 7 days

— Alcides Escobar – 4 for 19 with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 5 K in the last 7 days

Enjoy the series!

Previewing the 2012 Royals | Interview Series

 

The Royals' Kauffman Stadium - the site of the 2012 All Star Game.

Over the course of the next month or two, we will be previewing the Yankees’ competition in the American League. To do this, I will interview one blog for each team in the league.

Now that we’ve interviewed the Twins, Tigers, and White Sox, we now will be looking at the Kansas City Royals. I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Engel of Kings of Kauffman

1. Finishing in 4th place with a 71-91 record, the Royals had another primarily unsuccessful season. What are your thoughts looking back at the 2011 season? What could the Royals have done a better job at in order to achieve greater success?

That record is similar to how the Royals have finished in the past, but 2011 was a much different year than others. With so many prospects graduating to the big leagues, a winning season wasn’t expected, but by the end of the year, most of them were having success in some fashion. The starting rotation was a weak link, of course, but a lot of the damage was done by Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan – three starters who didn’t really pitch at all past the all-star break.

2. With the exception of trading Melky Cabrera to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez, it seems to have been a rather quiet offseason for KC. How do you feel about the Royals’ off-season to this point?

Early on, I wanted them to either go after everyone they could possibly get, or to sit tight. I advocated they sign Mark Buehrle and Roy Oswalt both if they were going to go for it, but neither happened, obviously. That’s okay with me. I have a hard time holding back my optimism after how the team started to look late last year, but it’s a tough job going for the division with mostly second year players.

I’m happy that they didn’t get a strange feeling to start selling off their still-strong prospect depth. There were a ton of fans on our side who were more than willing to give up Wil Myers and change for Gio Gonzalez. Personally, I don’t buy Gio outside of Oakland, so I’m glad that move didn’t happen, especially for our top hitting prospect. Dayton Moore trusts the players he has in his system and while 2012 may not be the year, he’s got the players around to have a big window for annual contention.

3. What do you think of the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium being the host of the 2012 All Star Game?

It’s really exciting. The renovations they’ve done make the stadium even better than it already was and Major League Baseball noticed. I think fans from all over will love the stadium and I’m going to be sure to make it, too. It’s a once in a generation kind of event for our region.

4. Although they haven’t had much major-league success in recent years, the Royals are said to have one of the best (probably the best) farm systems. How do you feel about the current state of the Royals’ prospects, and minor-leagues? Do any exciting young prospects figure to have an impact on the 2012 team?

A lot of the guys who came up in 2011 are the same guys who’ll be making the most impact in 2012. The one player who didn’t make it to Kansas City who might be on track for it is Mike Montgomery. He’s got the highest upside of any pitcher right now in the system, even though he’s coming off a pretty bad season in Triple A.

Behind him, the Royals have a lot of depth still to come. Jake Odorizzi might not be up in 2012, but he’s going to be a part of a future Royals rotation. Chris Dwyer is getting invited to camp and might be close to Montgomery’s upside – but he’s got more potential to bust, too. The system as it stands now has a second wave of young talent coming along, most of whom are in the lower levels – guys like Cheslor Cuthbert, Jason Adam, Jorge Bonifacio – who might be a bit behind Eric Hosmer and company, but they’re a lot of 19 and 20 year olds.

There’s a very small chance that Wil Myers could see time in Kansas City. If so, it’ll be during a September call-up situation. He had a rough 2011 as a 20-year-old in Double A and fended off some fluke knee problems (he endured a laceration/bruise early on that kept him out, then it became infected and kept him out again). He still held his own at the level and had a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. He’ll see Triple A before the end of 2012, at least.

5. Lastly, how do you project the team will do in 2012? Are fans confident in the organization both in the short-term and the long-term?

My expectations are a little weird. I’ve been a Royals fan for so long that I’ve seen this kind of excitement before. In 1990, the Royals had a good mix of young and veteran talent, but it fell apart and they didn’t meet expectations. In 1994, they were the hottest team in baseball and then the players went on strike. Even with the best young outfield trio in recent memory (Jermaine Dye, Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon), they didn’t have any pitching to keep them in games and the 2003 season was a mirage. So Royals fans will have to pardon me for checking my optimism. I see them as a good shot for 78 wins, which is progress.

There are a lot of fans who say .500 is within reach, and honestly, I see that too. There are some fans who think 88 wins or so is in reach. At least my way, .500 is a bonus, but it’s disappointing for the second group.

Long-term, I think the Royals could end up with one of the better offensive teams in the league. A lot depends on the pitching. If Danny Duffy, Montgomery, Odorizzi and John Lamb (who’s out until at least mid-season after Tommy John Surgery last June) can reach their potential, the team will be fantastic for a good four year stretch while the other players – the Jason Adams, Cuthberts and others I’ve mentioned – move up to keep the ladder and keep the momentum going.

MoneyBall: Comparing Granderson’s Contract

In 2012, Curtis Granderson is scheduled to make $10,000,000 for doing what he does best; playing baseball. As a matter of fact, Granderson is banking some big bucks. Granderson may have good offensive power and may field the ball well, but there are other players that make less than Granderson and still have the skills that Granderson possesses. Is it really possible to find someone who has similar heart, determination and skill as Granderson for less money? Yes. Yes it is. I’ve compiled a list of outfielders who have a similar skill level as Granderson but for a more economical price (something that the Yankees are interested in all of a sudden).

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox ($2.4 Million, 2nd Year Arbitration):

I am probably going to get booed for this, but I chose Jacoby Ellsbury as

Jacoby Ellsbury doesn't make a lot; but he provides a lot

another player who has skill (and a small contract) to compare to Curtis Granderson.  Ellsbury is the center-fielder for the Boston Red Sox and even though the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry gets to the best of us, you have to admit that Ellsbury has *cough* Talent *cough.* Ellsbury was exactly what Granderson was in the beginning of 2011, a player that no one would expect to shine and do well. Here are the comparisons of Curtis Granderson & Jacoby Ellsbury’s offensive numbers, and yes Ellsbury’s numbers will surprisingly shock you:

Curtis Granderson: .262 AVG, .364 OBP, .552 SLG, .394 wOBA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 146 wRC+

Jacoby Ellsbury: .321 AVG, .376 OBP, .552 SLG, .402 wOBA, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 150 wRC+

Looking at the numbers, Ellsbury is a big offensive force for his team and for a small cost. Now let’s take a look at Ellsbury’s and Granderson’s value and defense numbers:

Curtis Granderson: 7.0 WAR, -5.3 UZR

Jacoby Ellsbury: 9.4 WAR, 15.6 UZR

Ellsbury made $2.4 Million in 2011, but his 2012 pay has not been released yet as he is entering his second year of arbitration. It’s actually unfortunate that Ellsbury is a Red Sox. He’s very good at what he does (but seriously, Ellsbury consider changing uniforms…maybe preferably pinstripes?)

2. Jeff Francouer, Kansas City Royals ($6 Million)

We all remember Jeff Francouer as that outfielder that was on the Mets but left to go to Kansas City right? Well, Francouer…isn’t bad at his game. He has less talent as Granderson, but hey, he’s going to make $4 Million less. Here are Granderson and Francouer’s offensive numbers in comparison:

Curtis Granderson: .262 AVG, .364 OBP, .552 SLG, .394 wOBA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 146 wRC+

Jeff Francouer: .285 AVG, .329 OBP, .476 SLG, .346 wOBA, 20 HR, 87 RBI, 117 wRC+

Now, let’s compare Granderson & Francouer some more, shall we?

Curtis Granderson: 7.0 WAR, -5.3 UZR

Jeff Francouer: 2.9 WAR, 0.6 UZR

In 2012, Francouer is scheduled to make $6 Millon. Not bad for a player who played well in 2011. Francouer is not the greatest fielder, but offensively he is fairly legit. Now, if I were the Yankees offering this to Francouer, would he like to sign now or later?

3. Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins ($414,000, 1st Year Arbitration)

Not sure why, but Logan Morrison is my favorite subject. For his first full year in the majors he has shown 2 things. One, he has power and two with a little help he can become an RBI machine. Comparing him to Granderson wouldn’t be exactly fair since he only has one year, but just for the fun of it, I would say why not. So here are their compared offensive stats.

Curtis Granderson: .262 AVG, .364 OBP, .552 SLG, .394 wOBA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 146 wRC+

Logan Morrison: .247 AVG, .330 OBP, .468, .344 wOBA, 23 HR, 72 RBI, 115 wRC+

Now, let’s move on to comparing their value and defense:

Curtis Granderson: 7.0 WAR, -5.3 UZR

Logan Morrison: 1.0 WAR, -13.1 UZR

Logan Morrison made $414,000 in 2011 and he as well has entered his first year of arbitration. With Morrsion’s numbers looking pretty good in 2011, can we say an outburst in 2012?

4. Hunter Pence, Philadelphia Phillies ($6.9 Million, 1st Year Arbitration)

Hunter Pence has the bat and the skills, but his price range is slightly lower than Granderson

Okay, so Hunter Pence isn’t all that cheap but what he did with the Phillies in 2011 was pretty sweet right? Coming from the last place Houston Astros to the 1st place Philadelphia Phillies was a big transition for him but he adjusted well.  When comparing Curtis Granderson to Hunter Pence, Pence’s numbers are a little lower than Granderson but he’s still a dynamic force. Here are Granderson & Pence’s numbers compared.

Curtis Granderson: .262 AVG, .364 OBP, .552 SLG, .394 wOBA, 41 HR, 119 RBI, 146 wRC+

Hunter Pence: .314 AVG, .370 OBP, .502 SLG, .378 wOBA, 22 HR, 97 RBI, 141 wRC+

Now let’s compare Hunter Pence’s value & defense to that of Curtis Granderson.

Curtis Granderson: 7.0 WAR, -5.3 UZR

Hunter Pence: 4.1 WAR, -4.8 UZR

When comparing Granderson’s contract to the other contracts out there in the league he makes quite a bit for doing what he does best, but we can all be fortunate that he doesn’t make an absurd amount of money.

I’ve only included just a few outfielders that are comparable in skill and money to Curtis Granderson. Feel free to discuss other comparisons in the below comments section!

Greg Golson signs with Royals

Greg Golson signs with Royals

By Delia E.

Greg Golson is now a Kansas City Royal. A week after the Yankees DFA’d the RF, he had been signed by the Royals who have been signing multiple players on minor league contracts. Golson in 33 games with the Yankees had a .235 AVG, 0 HR & 2 RBI’s.

Yankees disappointed they missed out on Sanchez

Yankees disappointed they missed out on Sanchez

By Delia E.

The New York Yankees were reportedly “disappointed” that they missed out on now Royals pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. The Yankees felt that they had more to offer to the Giants for Sanchez. Sanchez was traded to the Royals for former Yankees OF Melky Cabrera.

Yankees @ KC 8/15 – 8/17

Be sure to check out Ricky’s Podcast for the Series.  Click Here for it.

Mon 8:10

Burnett (8-9)

vs Left .253
vs Right .231
Home Games 4.28
Away Games 5.19
On Grass 4.42
On Turf 6.06
Day Games 3.97
Night Games 4.90
August 9.58
Last 30 Days 6.44

vs

Paulino (1-8)

vs Left .291
vs Right .273
Home Games 4.46
Away Games 3.79
On Grass 4.19
On Turf 1.80
Day Games 3.38
Night Games 4.30
August 3.09
Last 30 Days 3.56

Tuesday 8:10

Ivan Nova (11-4)

vs Left .240
vs Right .284
Home Games 4.62
Away Games 2.81
On Grass 3.89
On Turf 3.00
Day Games 5.01
Night Games 3.54
August 2.63
Last 30 Days 2.61

vs

Duffy (3-6)

vs Left .269
vs Right .295
Home Games 4.50
Away Games 5.40
On Grass 5.08
On Turf 3.86
Day Games 4.15
Night Games 5.28
August 4.50
Last 30 Days 5.20

Wednesday 8:10

Colon (8-6)

vs Left .278
vs Right .224
Home Games 3.77
Away Games 2.89
On Grass 3.23
On Turf 3.95
Day Games 2.36
Night Games 4.07
August 3.38
Last 30 Days 2.79

vs.

Chen (7-5)

vs Left .304
vs Right .264
Home Games 3.54
Away Games 5.06
On Grass 4.15
On Turf
Day Games 3.66
Night Games 4.50
August 3.45
Last 30 Days 5.53

Defense Lets Nova Down in 11-5 Loss

The game review from MLB.com’s Thomas Boorstein:

NEW YORK — In his young Major League career, Ivan Nova has made a habit of trusting his defense. He pitches to contact and lets his teammates do most of the work. That strategy — and Nova’s stuff — betrayed the right-hander in the Yankees’ 11-5 loss to the Royals on Thursday.

Nova didn’t record an out in the fourth inning and took the loss in the the rubber game of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.

The 24-year-old Nova surrendered eight runs — four earned — on 10 hits, two walks and two strikeouts. The outing could not have differed much more from his previous start, in Texas, where Nova recorded a career-high 22 outs — and only one strikeout.

“I didn’t think he had his good stuff,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t think he had a good curveball tonight. It just seemed to be rolling tonight. His fastball was up in the zone.”

After working around a walk and a double in the first inning, Nova and the Yankees fell apart in the second, when 10 Royals came to the plate. By the time the half-inning ended 18 minutes later, six runs had scored, but only two of them were earned.

“That inning was the whole game,” catcher Francisco Cervelli said.

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, a highly touted rookie, started the inning with his second homer in as many games. Wilson Betemit followed with a single, and Matt Treanor hit what could have been a double-play ball to Robinson Cano at second base. Instead, Cano’s errant throw pulled shortstop Eduardo Nunez off the base. Betemit was safe, and Treanor reached on the fielder’s choice. Things would get worse.

After a passed ball charged to Cervelli — one of two by the catcher on Thursday — Nova induced a groundout from Alcides Escobar. Mike Aviles then singled, and Melky Cabrera doubled. While Nova was in the process of walking Alex Gordon, Cervelli threw wildly to second base on a pickoff attempt. That error allowed Aviles to score and Cabrera to take third. Billy Butler hit another potential double-play ball, this time to Nova, but the pitcher bobbled the ball and then threw to first, even as Cabrera ran home to score the inning’s fifth run. A Jeff Francoeur single plated run No. 6 before Hosmer ended the inning he had started with a lineout to right.

“It’s just not good baseball,” Girardi said. “You’re not used to seeing Robbie throw the ball away. Then Cervi throws the ball away. We just gave them too many outs. You can’t beat teams when you give them too many outs.”

“The errors, they’re part of the game,” Nova said. “That’s going to happen. You’ve just got to let it go away and try to get an out with the next batter. But that was kind of difficult for me.”

The errors have been too big a part of Yankees games for Girardi’s liking. The team has seven errors in its past 10 games, and many of them have been crucial. They also haven’t been the only miscues.

“When we have one sloppy game, I don’t like it,” Girardi said. “So when you have three, four or five in two weeks, yeah, it does bother me. You give teams extra baserunners with errors and walks and you hit guys, it’s just going to lead to trouble. Those games are extremely hard to win.”

After allowing the first three batters of the fourth to reach — including Cabrera, who hit a leadoff homer — Nova gave way to Amaury Sanit, who pitched 4 2/3 innings in his Major League debut. Sanit had been called up to help a taxed bullpen that was without Rafael Soriano again for the series finale. But Soriano played catch on Thursday and will be available for Friday’s series opener against the Red Sox “unless something happens overnight,” Girardi said.

Against Kansas City’s Sean O’Sullivan, the Yankees’ bats remained quiet — and hitless — until the bottom of the fifth. Cano became the first Yankees batter to reach base when he led off the frame with his ninth home run of the year. O’Sullivan and the Royals did not record a strikeout. The last time the Yankees lost a home game in which they didn’t strike out was June 17, 1994, against Milwaukee — when the Brewers played in the American League.

“He changes speeds,” center fielder Curtis Granderson said of O’Sullivan. “I saw a couple of pitches up to 95 mph, then a couple of pitches in the 89-90-91 range. When you have a good five- to six-mph change from all of your different types of fastballs, that makes you effective.”

The Yankees followed with three more runs, but the early hole dug by Nova and the defense proved too deep. With the Red Sox looming, the Yankees hope they can put the shovels away.

“We always want to play them at our best,” Cano said of the Red Sox. “Every game, but them more. They have such a great team. They take advantage of any mistake. So we’ve got to focus pitch by pitch and the whole game. You don’t want to make a mistake against them.”

NY Yankees AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Jeter, DH 4 0 1 1 0 0 1 .270
Granderson, CF 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 .270
Teixeira, 1B 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 .262
Rodriguez, A, 3B 4 1 1 1 0 0 1 .259
Cano, 2B 4 1 1 1 0 0 1 .291
Swisher, RF 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 .218
Gardner, LF 4 1 2 0 0 0 0 .260
Nunez, E, SS 3 1 0 0 1 0 1 .300
Cervelli, C 3 0 1 2 1 0 1 .231
Totals 34 5 8 5 2 0 9 .253
NY Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Nova(L, 3-3) 3.0 10 8 4 2 2 2 4.70
Sanit 4.2 4 3 3 2 2 0 5.79
Carlyle 1.1 2 0 0 0 3 0 2.70
Totals 9.0 16 11 7 4 7 2 3.71

NYY vs. KC – 5/12/11

Lineup:

1. Jeter DH
2. Granderson CF
3. Teixeira 1B
4. Rodriguez 3B
5. Cano 2B (pending doctor approval)
6. Swisher RF
7. Gardner LF
8. Nunez SS
9. Cervelli C

Pitchers:

Ivan Nova (3-2, 4.08) vs. Sean O’Sullivan (1-2, 3.41)

From MLB.com’s Gameday:

O’Sullivan, after issuing seven walks in his previous start, allowed one last Friday against the A’s and went eight innings for the longest outing of his career. But he lost, 3-2, in his third straight quality start. O’Sullivan threw 89 pitches.

Nova pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his career on Friday, holding the Rangers to an unearned run and two hits in a victory at Texas. He is 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his last three starts

Enjoy the game.

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