Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Yankees still aren't playing well right now, and they just need some sort of winning streak to help them turn their season around. Just one game above .500, the Yankees enter play on Sunday having lost five of their seven games this month, including last night to end a short two-game winning streak.

David Phelps was tagged for a season-high seven runs on 10 hits, as the Yankees fell to the Kansas City Royals, 8-4, in the second game of this four-game series to kick-off a 10-game road trip.

On the bright side for the Yankees, though, not only is Jacoby Ellsbury back to hitting everything throw his way, but Carlos Beltran is back in the Yankees' lineup and collected his first hit last night since coming off of the DL, breaking an 0-for-9 start with a key RBI double in the 6th inning that helped the Yankees to rally back and tie the game with a three-run frame.

Beltran hardly played in any rehab games before rejoining the club this past week, so it was kinda expected that it would take some time to get back into the swing of things. For now, he's only going to be playing as the DH, but eventually will see some time in right field again.

"At some point, we'll try to have him throw, but I just don't have a date," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Today's lineup against Kansas City:

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Carlos Beltran DH
Brian McCann C
Yangervis Solarte 3B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Brian Roberts 2B
Kelly Johnson 1B

Pitching matchup preview:

If there is any pitcher that the Yankees were counting on to have a big season this year, it was Hiroki Kuroda, who dominated the league during the first half of the 2013 season before falling off the grid in the final six weeks.

Kuroda hasn't been good this so far this season, but is probably coming off of his best start of the year after limiting the A's to one run and two hits in 6 2/3 Tuesday -- his second longest start of the year since going eight innings against the Los Angels Angels back on May 8.

Kuroda is 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA when pitching on four days' rest this season, compared to being 1-3 with a 4.83 ERA otherwise. It's four days rest for him today.

As for the Royals, they'll be giving the ball to their ace, James Shields, who  has given up 17 runs (15 earned) in three straight no-decisions. Shields had won six of the seven starts prior to that and has seen his ERA jump from 2.67 to 3.68.


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