Game 33: KC vs. NYY — Former friends, now royal foes

The Yankees faced some old teammates tonight from the mound. The starter and first relief pitcher for the Royals in tonight’s final game of this series both played for the Yankees about a decade ago (2005/2007-2009) at the start of their MLB careers. This means only a couple of current roster guys were around to remember this.

Tonight’s Yankee starter Nathan Eovaldi was still playing on his high school baseball team in Texas a decade ago when those pitchers were starting out with the Yankees. But perhaps youth was in favor tonight in that respect as Eovaldi certainly outpitched both former Yankee (now Royals) pitchers. Eovaldi went through 5 innings, gave up 8 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, striking out just 3 batters. But it wasn’t until the 4th inning the Royals really poked a hole through Eovaldi’s pitching. A 1-out solo home run got things started, followed up by a 2-out double that scored on a long RBI single. And another 2-out double scored on another RBI single in the 5th to give the Royals their grand total in runs tonight.

Eovaldi was followed in succession by a pretty amazing bullpen show in the form of Yates, Betances, Miller, and Shreve, each taking an inning to get right through that line up and keep the Royals putting up straight zeroes for the last half of the game.

The Yankees, on the other hand, got things started off on the right foot in the 1st inning with Starlin Castro’s 1-out solo home run to the right field seats. In the 2nd, Beltran led-off with a walk and then 2 outs later was hit in on Chase Headley’s monster 2-run home run to give the Yankees a nice healthy lead. Going into this game, Headley had been struggling all season and had yet to get an extra base hit. I think that mark is broken now as a home run most definitely counts for a few extra bases. (Actually, Headley did really well tonight, going 2-for-3, with a walk, 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored.)

In the 4th, with 2 outs and Hicks at first, Didi Gregorius tacked on a couple more runs to the Yankees’ lead with his own 2-run home run. And the 7th certainly gave the Royals’ starter the most trouble, which was great for the Yankees. With 1 out and Headley and Romine on base, the Royals tried changing pitchers to that other former Yankee, but to no avail. Gardner’s walk loaded the bases and put the Yankees in the unenviable spot they’ve struggled with for the last month — runners in scoring position. But that’s okay. It’s not April anymore. Castro’s single scored Headley and then Brian McCann worked a 2-out walk to walk in Romine to seal the deal for the Yankees’ win tonight.

Final score: 7-3 Yankees, Yankees win series 3-1.

This is now the 2nd series the Yankees have won in a row. First, the rivalry, now the “reigning world champions”. Um, okay. Or maybe it’s just because they played better baseball than whatever uniform their opponents happen to wear that day. Now, that’s a theory I can get behind.

The Scranton Shuttle: The Yankees promoted reliever Tyler Olson today, optioning outfielder Ben Gamel back. And catcher Gary Sanchez may make his 2016 debut tomorrow, but no corresponding roster move seems to be forthcoming. Seeing as adding Sanchez makes 26 players, I expect we’ll hear something prior to tomorrow night’s game against the White Sox.

Today would’ve been Yogi Berra’s 91st birthday. The Yankees honored him tonight (in addition to their year-long celebration via the #8 patch on their sleeves) by recognizing the contributions and the last legacy Yogi left through his museum. If you’re ever in New Jersey, go check out the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center.

Happy Birthday, Yogi!

Go Yankees!

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