Royals throttle Yankees 11-5; win first series at Yankee Stadium since 1999

(photo c/o The AP)

Remember when I said that “anything less than two out of three against the Royals at home would have to be considered a pretty monumental failure”? Well, the Yankees managed to pull off the seemingly impossible, getting blown out by the Royals 11-5 and dropping two of three at home — making this the first time Kansas City won a series at Yankee Stadium since 1999.

This game started out about as horribly as possible. Ivan Nova was awful, and the Royals’ 6-run second inning was the biggest inning Yankee pitching has given up all season. Nova wound up yielding eight runs (though only four earned), lasting three-plus innings while also getting no help from his defense.

As if the Royals jumping out to an 8-0 lead wasn’t bad enough, Sean O’Sullivan managed to throw four perfect frames before the Yankees finally simultaneously broke up the perfect game and got on the board via a Robinson Cano home run. The Yankees plated three more runs in the fifth to cut the lead in half and briefly provide a glimmer of hope that they might be able to surmount the deficit, but Amaury Sanit — throwing garbage time in his MLB debut — gave one of those runs right back on an Eric Hosmer double (Hosmer also homered and singled), and the Yankees couldn’t get much going with the Royals up 9-4. Billy Butler also had a big night, going 4-6 and driving in two.

I suppose if you want to look for a positive, this was the first true blowout loss of the Yankees’ season — their previous biggest margin of defeat was four runs, which speaks to the surprising strength of the team’s pitching this season. Still, it’s pretty tough to sugarcoat this one, as the Royals’ 11 runs and 16 hits were both season-highs yielded by the Yankees, not to mention the fact that that Kansas City tally included another Melky Cabrera home run (grrr). I also don’t know how to explain the fact that the Yankees only managed to score 3.33 runs per game against the likes of Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan, I really don’t. I know that this is baseball, and that every now and then the Yankees are going to lose to bad pitchers, but this particular level of offensive ineptitude is startling.

About the only other good thing is that Alex Rodriguez ended his 19-game home run drought with his 6th bomb of the season, and also had another hard hit out that looked like a hit off the bat but was right at Alex Gordon. The team really needs Alex’s bat to come back in a big way, as they’ve been getting virtually nothing out of him since that last home run against the Orioles, and hopefully this is a sign that A-Rod is finally getting back on track.

8 thoughts on “Royals throttle Yankees 11-5; win first series at Yankee Stadium since 1999

  1. It feels like their HR/FB ratio is coming back down to earth (hey, there’s a metaphor there), and the OBP isn’t coming up to snuff. Is that accurate?

    It may just be that they don’t have the offense they thought they did. To have gotten the pitching they’ve gotten and to be 20-15 is disheartening.

    • I’m not really sure what the underlying issue with the offense is, aside from the fact that the lineup’s been featuring some severely slumping players in Swish, A-Rod, Posada and Martin.

      In April the HR/FB% was 17.8%, and thus far in May it’s 12.8% — obviously we all knew the rate would regress, but that’s still an above-average rate.

      And it hasn’t really been an issue of getting on base — in April the OBP was .337, and in May its .343.

      The alarming rate of twin-killings and Girardi’s predilection for the bunt have been snuffing out many a potential rally, although we can’t really blame the entirety of the offensive woes on those factors, either.

      I have to admit, on a statistical level I’m a bit stumped as to what’s been causing the offensive malaise. You probably saw the Axisa article on RAB noting the team’s difficulty with breaking balls, and that hasn’t changed — the Yankees still have the worst runs above average figure in MLB against the curveball — but we can’t pinpoint the blame on a pitch they’re still only seeing 11% of the time.

      I’d certainly be interested in hearing other peoples’ theories.

      • execution ..they just don’t..bunt ..don’t bunt can’t bunt.. sac bunt is just that.. not dragging about trying to field a soft ground ball to the pitcher or first baseman. can not pick it up on the floor.. or how the pitcher can’t throw twenty feet ,ball sails into the outfield..what two three times already.joe afraid to use other arms in the 7 0r 8th inning. what happened to gardner ..forgot how to steal a base he is under 50%..martin is better than him..joe steals at the wrong time and sits on his hands is april ..may a guy gets a ding .sit him for two days..not let injuries pile up and get worse..joe has a history of hiding these can only get worse..this thing about toughing it out belongs in football not baseball..real bright .play hurt ..what a guy! but bat .200..boy he is great he played hurt mentality.those are some things not found in #s.. joe is a slump buster..oh yeah..your going to play until you start hitting ..i’ll show posada hitting .140 last in baseball, is a real stand up manager move what a smart guy..oh and by the way we will start those .213 hitters also..sooner or later they will hit..of coarse they will ..but at what price glory..or players egos.. non sense..but in the the end they will only make it close and will win the A.L.east..but we will all get ulcers and reflux watching..they wake up today..hey posada likes hitting vs blowsox..

      • Something about the distribution? Is it easier to score runs with 9 guys with OBPs of .340 than it is to score with 5 guys with OBPs of .380 and 4 guys with OBPs of .300? I wouldn’t think it would make much difference, but I don’t know.

        It could be just bad luck, but the low scoring been going on for almost 3 weeks. In their last 17 games, they scored 12 runs twice, and 5 or fewer in 15 games. And more than half of those were 3 or fewer.

        And when they were scoring a lot of runs, a major amount was by HR. The HR/FB% has come down, but the rest of the offense seems to be about the same.

        They get a lot of walks and not comparatively many non-HR hits. How is the team wOBA?

        The one thing I do know is that there isn’t much room to change anything. I suppose Posada will be replaced by Montero eventually, but Gardner and Swisher, are unlikely to be replaced and everyone else is carved in stone. Replacements would have to be by trade–no one in the minors is ready to claim a spot–which is ridiculous. The Yankees aren’t going to waste resources trading for hitters.

        • Yeah, I mean there’s definitely been some bad luck sprinkled in there, given the fact that they still sport a below-average BABIP (.267; third-lowest in the AL) and we’re still waiting for the correction to come, but as they’ve played pretty mediocre ball for two weeks now we can’t chalk it up entirely to bad luck.

          However, they still lead the AL in wOBA, at .349, and the next best team is Texas, at .341. It seems crazy to be complaining about an offense that ranks first in the league, but the results say otherwise.

          • no bad luck..just awful play..the mental part of the game is a mess..

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