This weekend’s matchups: Yankees at Royals

The Yankees will be in Kansas City this weekend taking on the second place Royals who at the moment are only a half game behind first place Detroit.

The Yankees are in a virtual tie for first place atop the AL East with Baltimore and Boston. While the Orioles and Red Sox both have 21 wins to the Yankees’ 20, both teams have 14 losses, the Yankees have 13. This season has certainly been interesting so far for the boys from the Bronx. Most people weren’t expecting much while their superstars Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez were out with injuries but I’d say hitting the 20 win mark on May 9th is a pretty big deal. As we all know, there is a lot of season left but so far the Yankees have been able to stay ahead while waiting for the aforementioned big guns to arrive.

Coming into this three-game series with the Royals, the Yankees are 6-4 in their last 10 games and they took two out of three in Colorado. The Royals are 5-5 in their last 10 and they lost two out of three to the Orioles in Baltimore.

This weekend marks the return of Mariano Rivera to the place where his 2012 season ended. And how’s this for a stat? From Yahoo: “Rivera has converted 35 of 37 save opportunities against the Royals (18-13), including 27 in a row dating to Aug. 18, 1998.”

Here are the pitching match ups for the series:

Tonight
RHP Phil Hughes (1-2, 3.60) vs. RHP Wade Davis (2-2, 4.75)
8:10 p.m.

Saturday
LHP Andy Pettitte (3-2, 4.06) vs.RHP James Shields (2-2, 2.52)
7:10 p.m.

Sunday
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (4-2, 2.30) vs.RHP Ervin Santana (3-1, 2.36)
2:10 p.m.

All three opposing pitchers are very familiar to the Yankees. Davis and Shields faced the Yankees many times while they were with the Tampa Bay Rays and Ervin Santana also faced the Yankees while with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money, co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast and is a monthly contributor to ESPN's SweetSpot Blog. She is a former contributor at Aerys Sports and High Heat Stats. She has contributed to group projects at Baseball: Past And Present and the Hall of Stats. Her work has appeared in USA Today's Sports Weekly and most recently, she wrote four pieces for Derek Jeter: Celebrating the Yankees' Captain Clutch, a magazine printed by i5 Publishing.