(Photo credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
After dropping the finale of a three-game series at Toronto, the New York Yankees travel to Kansas City to wrap up the season against the Royals. The Yankees must win all three games to avoid their worst 162-game mark since going 76-86 in 1992, the last time they wound up below .500.
It's been astrong finish for the Yankees (81-78), who entered September in last place in the American League East with a sub-.500 record. Their 16-9 mark for the month is tied for second in the AL, behind only the Baltimore Orioles' 17-9 record.
"Nobody wants to be out of the race like we are now, but I give these guys a ton of credit for their professionalism, their focus," Boone said Thursday before the Yankees dropped a 6-0 decision to the Blue Jays. "That's what we've tried to drive home with them, and from Gerrit (Cole) and Aaron (Judge) and the leaders on this team, they've set that example really well."
New York left-hander Carlos Rodon (3-7, 5.74 ERA) is scheduled to open the series against the Royals.
In 10 career starts against Kansas City -- all while pitching for the Chicago White Sox -- Rodon is 3-5 with a 3.95 ERA. He last faced them in 2021, taking a loss while throwing four innings and allowing four runs on eight hits, including a home run by Salvador Perez. The Kansas City catcher has two long balls and a career .421 average in 19 at-bats against Rodon.
In his past two outings, Rodon took a pair of losses. He yielded five runs, three earned, in 6 1/3 innings during a 7-1 defeat to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday after giving up three runs in 6 2/3 innings during a 3-2 setback at Pittsburgh on Sept. 17. He struck out 10 Pirates in the latter contest.
Boone said of Rodon after the loss against Pittsburgh. "Great stuff, executed a lot. I thought he was really good. Another really good step, a peek into what he is when he's going right. That's where I've seen him at times."
At 54-105, the Royals need two wins this weekend to avoid eclipsing the franchise record for futility, set in 2005 at 56-106.
Right-hander Jordan Lyles (5-17, 6.24 ERA) takes the mound for Kansas City. In nine career games, eight starts, against the Yankees, Lyles is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA. In his lone outing against New York this year, he gave up home runs to Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo in an 8-5 loss on July 23 at Yankee Stadium. Lyles yielded five runs in five innings.
Aaron Judge homered twice against Lyles on May 23, 2022. In his past three games vs. Lyles, Judge is 6-for-8 with four extra-base hits and five RBIs.
Lyles has the majors' worst ERA and has given up the third-most homers (38) this season, matching a career high set in 2021 when he led the majors. He won his latest start, throwing five shutout innings at Houston on Saturday, breaking a streak of nine straight starts allowing at least one homer.
The Royals took two losses on Thursday to complete a three-game sweep at Detroit. The Tigers won 8-0 in the completion of a game suspended due to rain on Wednesday, then captured the regularly scheduled game 7-3.
Kansas City led the second contest 3-0 after three innings, but Detroit rallied for seven runs in the seventh inning.
"We need to do a better job of expanding the lead in the middle innings," Royals manager Matt Quatraro said, according to MLB.com. "We weren't able to do that. The emphasis will come on the seventh and the pitching, but there's a lot of other things involved in that game."
--Field Level Media