Yankees aim to reverse the downhill trend in clash with Royals

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A new three-game series kicks off on this July 21st as the Kansas City Royals visit the Bronx to face the New York Yankees. After a day off following another losing series where the Yankees got swept by the Los Angeles Angels, it’s time to shake things off and focus on the current target.

Again, the issue of the Yankees’ poor hitting and scoring is the main topic of discussion. On every forum, fans do not waste opportunities to talk about the disappointment of watching the Yankees performing at this level. While their schedule shrinks, the wild card race gets more and more complicated and most of the clubs seem like coming into this second half with a different approach, but the Yankees continue to be indifferent.

The offensive prowess of this team doesn’t seen to improve despite the coaching changes and this situation only makes louder the rumors and desires of the fans for any trades or even further changes in the administration.

The Yankees have a good chance against the Royals

Against the Royals, the Yankees are on track for another chance to prove what they are and can do. This series is pivotal to ensure a new start for the New York Yankees in the second half. Currently, the Yankees’ .230 AVG is standing still in the 28th overall, while the visiting team that is set to face the Bronx Bombers at Yankee Stadium, the Kansas City is ranked 25th. Despite that, the New York Yankees are aiming to defend their home series as shown in the following table

Source: MLB

The pitching rotation of the Yankees had some ups and downs in the past series but is still good because the Yankees’ 3.89 ERA is ranked 9th over the Royals’ 5.22 ERA in 28th. This means a potential sweep or at least the first series win in this second half.

Yankees vs. Royals, 1st game on July 21, 7:05 PM ET

Clarke Schmidt’s basic statistics:

2023 MLB Stats564.312019094.0951.34
MLB Career Stats10124.0554242164.11641.36

Source: MLB

Clarke Schmidt will start this series opener at home facing the Kansas City Royals’ rookie pitcher Alec Marsh. Schmidt is one of the few players in the New York Yankees roster having a good pace even before the start of this second half of the season. In the three games he has pitched in this month, this reliable righty has cumulated a 3.06 ERA in 11.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 16 SO, .186 AVG, and 0.77 WHIP.

Regarding Schmidt’s performance against the Royals’ batters, his numbers display successful outing against this team’s lineup:

 Schmidt, Clarke108200044038.12200.250.250.3150.3230.3550.37589.510.8
 Melendez, MJ21000015016.7150000.3440.344
 Garcia, Maikel22100015050000.50.50.4420.3450.3660.31770.717
 Lopez, Nicky1100000050000000.4940.530.44589.38
 Perez, Salvador1100001100100000000
 Olivares, Edward11100000000110.8840.7660.8730.70999.710
 Witt Jr., Bobby110000110050000000
 Duffy, Matt1000000011000.6890.689
 Isbel, Kyle110000000000000.6340.7050.58398.28

Source: Baseball Savant

The 0.250 batting average and the 40% Strikeout rate of the Royals’ batters vs Schmidt could be considered as a sign of dominance in the early innings of this upcoming game for the Yankees’ starting pitcher.

Alec Marsh’s basic statistics:

2023 Regular Season035.4033015.0211.47
Career Regular Season035.4033015.0211.47

Source: MLB

On the other side, Alec Marsh has never faced any players on the Yankees team. Comparing some of these pitchers’ stats, we can see that Marsh’s 47.2% hard hits is higher than Schmidt’s 43.9%. There’s a big difference between the expected .317 OBA (Schmidt’s) and the .363 xwOBA (Marsh’s). The Batting Average is similar for both, but the expected .490 SLG (Marsh’s) vs Schmidt’s .418 xSLG favors the Yankees players. Considering how well the Yankees batters hit Fastballs, if we put into the equation that Alec Marsh’s 4-Seam Fastball is the pitch type he uses the most (45%) out of his arsenal, the New York Yankees players might have better chances of succeeding against this pitcher than the Royals players vs Schmidt.

Source: Baseball Savant

Anyways getting overconfident about this pitcher is a mistake that the Yankees should avoid because Marsh was capable of holding off to just 2 Runs. He did it with the AL Central’s Minnesota Twins and AL East’s Tampa Bay Rays in his last two starts, recording 11 K’s in his last outing against the Rays.

Yankees vs. Royals, 2nd game on July 22, 1:05 PM ET

Gerrit Cole’s statistics:

2023 Regular Season922.7820200123.01341.09
Career Regular Season139733.2028728701773.020641.10

Source: MLB

For the second game of this series homestead, the starting pitcher on the mound will be no other than the New York Yankees’ best Gerrit Cole. The pitcher of the most dominant 4-Seam fastball in all MLB is set to face the Kansas City Royals’ batters.

Cole has been consistent with his effectiveness to keep batters in a low production of runs, as his 2.78 ERA stands sixth overall and his 136 SO are fifth best in the AL. However, he lost the game in Colorado despite holding the Rockies to 1 Run during 6 IP, notching 11 SO and just 2 Hits. as there was no offensive support from his teammates.

In his last three started games his record is 1-1 Lose with 2.79 ERA, allowing 13 H, 6 ER, 2 HR, 21 SO, .188 AVG, 0.88 WHIP within 19.1 IP. Regarding Cole’s performance against the Royals’ batters, his numbers display successful outing against this team’s lineup:

 Cole, Gerrit6159100011727.928.811.60.1690.220.1780.2060.3230.23786.111.3
 Duffy, Matt17162000317.62015.90.1250.1250.1440.2480.340.28282.18.9
 Perez, Salvador1212100132531.8000.0830.3330.1730.2250.5540.32892.116.2
 Lopez, Nicky88200022535.7000.
 Isbel, Kyle66000035042.9000000.2110.2560.20591.428
 Greinke, Zack54000024033.3000000.0410.0410.03891.3-24
 Witt Jr., Bobby331000133.314.3000.3330.3330.2950.2130.3290.2395.735.5
 Pratto, Nick330000266.750000000.0720.0720.06756.8-68
 Melendez, MJ331000133.350000.3330.3330.2950.1120.2190.13982.4-9
 Olivares, Edward221000000000.50.50.4420.2260.2380.20996.6-11.5
 Garcia, Maikel22200000000110.8840.4830.5840.47686.5-4.5

Source: Baseballsavant

Considering those numbers, Gerrit Coles is almost assured to accomplish the task of keeping silent the Kansas City Royals’ bats because his record stands at 6-1 out of 12 home games. His only other loss was vs the Boston Red Sox back on June 10th but has won 2 out of 3 home games since.

The pitcher in charge of starting the game for the Royals in this matchup will be Brady Singer. A right-handed breaking balls specialist, who could have a good performance against the Yankees lineup if the hitting behavior doesn’t get any improvements. As his Statcasts numbers show, Singer’s barely usage of his fastballs can be a huge factor.

Brady Singer’s basics statistics:

2023 Regular Season685.7019190102.2811.50
Career Regular Season25284.3985820448.24231.34

Source: MLB

During the past three starts, he recorded 2 W, 1L, 4.95 ERA in 20.0 IP, allowing 24 H, 11 ER, 11 SO. Despite his high away games record 2-4 and 7.54 ERA, Brady was able to get those 2 wins against the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers, which both are placed 3rd and 4th in OPS while the New York Yankees are currently 22nd.

Source: Baseballsavant

As his Statcasts numbers show, Singer’s barely usage of his Fastballs can be a huge factor. Here are the numbers of the active New York Yankees players that had the opportunity to face Brady Singer at home plate before this game.

 Singer, Brady30248001723.332.4413.30.3330.4580.4130.2860.4160.383838
 Rizzo, Anthony651000116.720000.20.20.2670.3070.3360.35782.45.5
 LeMahieu, DJ6430000016.7233.30.750.750.670.6820.810.66485.311.5
 Torres, Gleyber541000120401200.250.250.3150.2070.2350.29274.747.3
 Kiner-Falefa, Isiah6520000014.3000.40.40.4130.20.2160.2882.3-21.6
 Higashioka, Kyle22100115050000.521.0030.3861.5260.769105.334
 Trevino, Jose220000210050000000
 Stanton, Giancarlo210000150100150000.3460.346
 Bader, Harrison1100001100100000000

Source: Baseballsavant

Yankees vs. Royals, 3rd game on July 23, 1:35 PM ET

Luis Severino’s basic statistics:

2023 Regular Season146.661010048.2401.77
Career Regular Season51333.621321170686.27491.17

Source: MLB

This is another opportunity for Luis Severino to show he still has some of those pitching weapons that made him a valuable piece for the pitching staff before going through all the injuries he dealt with.

It’s just a matter of looking at his numbers to realize how bad Severino’s season has been so far, as the struggles to contain hitters have swollen his ERA. In his last three starts, on the mound, the Dominican starter accumulated a poor 0-2 record with a 10.66 ERA, allowing 25 H, 17 R, 15 ER, 4 HR, .403 AVG, and 2.53 WHIP in a span of 12.2 IP.

Those days of being one of the most prolific strikeout machines in the league are looking hard are over. It is because of what seems to be the main change in his arsenal: the movement of his pitches. The following table displays the statistics regarding the vertical and horizontal movement of Severino’s pitch types:

Vertical Movement (inches)Horizontal Movement (inches)
YearPitchTeamHand#MPHInches of Dropvs Avg% vs AvgInches of Breakvs Avg% Break vs Avg
2023Changeup NYYR17886.627.6-2.5-813.6-0.8-6
20234-Seamer NYYR45496.513.
2023Cutter NYYR9189.232.0-5.3-205.42.7100
2023Slider NYYR14584.340.53.3910.64.781
20224-Seamer NYYR78096.312.
2022Changeup NYYR36388.825.4-3.2-1113.6-0.8-5
2022Sinker NYYR1795.914.4-5.8-2913.7-1.4-9
2022Slider NYYR33185.141.04.81310.55.195
2022Cutter NYYR12990.329.3-4.3-175.02.8127
2021Cutter NYYR292.
2021Slider NYYR2785.340.24.6139.94.998
20214-Seamer NYYR4395.312.71.4107.80.46
2021Changeup NYYR2688.726.1-2.4-815.21.07
2019Changeup NYYR3688.226.9-1.8-613.2-1.0-7
2019Slider NYYR5984.143.24.81310.95.189
20194-Seamer NYYR12496.113.70.867.5-0.4-5
20184-Seamer NYYR1,58997.612.61.186.4-1.4-18
2018Changeup NYYR42788.124.6-4.2-1511.8-2.2-16
2018Slider NYYR1,13288.138.35.61710.16.2162
2017Slider NYYR1,08188.336.86.2206.33.4119
20174-Seamer NYYR1,58297.511.40.659.91.518
2017Changeup NYYR41887.223.5-3.9-1413.1-0.7-5
2016Cutter NYYR2491.616.84.6224.3-6.9-269
2016Changeup NYYR11489.221.2-5.0-1913.71.19
20164-Seamer NYYR69796.810.61.6134.7-2.7-36
2016Slider NYYR42788.832.74.0149.24.9112
20154-Seamer NYYR51796.07.0-0.1-1
2015Changeup NYYR14388.615.63.327
2015Cutter NYYR3492.01.0-3.8-134
2015Sinker NYYR596.013.3-0.5-4
2015Slider NYYR32089.66.92.868

Source: Baseballsavant

It is clear that the biggest drops appear on the vertical movement of his whole arsenal. The fact that his two best pitches– the 4-Seam fastball and the slider — were among MLB’s top 5% and top 10% in terms of vs AVG vertical movement during 2017 and 2018 (his best years) and now his Slider is the only pitch that makes it to the top 10%. Moreover, in the 2022 season, his second to most reliable pitch type was the 4-Seam Fastball, but after dropping from standing in the league’s top 10%, nowadays is not moving at all (either vertically or horizontally).

The worst thing is that his fastball velocity is dropping as well and the Chase rate is the lowest recorded in his career, which means that batters are not getting fooled by his breaking pitches or Fastballs at the edge of the zone.

Severino’s numbers against faced Kansas City Royals batters before this game:

 Severino, Luis2523510041628.8140.2170.2610.2470.2370.3250.28288.43.5
 Perez, Salvador1210210032542.918.
 Duffy, Matt882000112.511.8000.
 Isbel, Kyle2210000033.3000.50.50.4420.2450.2720.22410121.5
 Lopez, Nicky330000000000000.1280.1550.1227820.3

The pitcher that will be facing Luis Severino and the Yankee batters this game is expected to the veteran Jordan Lyles. The veteran rigth-handed pitcher has struggled as well over the course of this season to maintain a decent outing, but lately seems like finding his groove because in his last to trips to the mound as starter Lyles recorder 0.82 ERA in 11.0 IP, 9 H, 1 ER, 9 SO, .225 AVG and .91 WHIP.

2023 Regular Season1116.0518180102.2731.26
Career Regular Season671015.1733923221429.010951.42

Source: MLB

The Yankees batters should be careful with this pitcher.

 Lyles, Jordan164149396042817.121.384.90.2620.3830.2910.2310.3230.26687.213.3
 Rizzo, Anthony40348102717.516.5250.2350.4410.2980.1780.2550.23783.518.1
 Kiner-Falefa, Isiah2018400031511.4150.2220.2220.2110.2280.2750.23581.24.6
 Stanton, Giancarlo23217201730.445.214.30.3330.5710.3880.2960.5370.35794.619.6
 LeMahieu, DJ2625800013.89.813.80.320.320.2980.2930.390.31489.514.3
 Torres, Gleyber17162100317.614.715.90.1250.1880.1670.1210.1780.16190.730.5
 Bader, Harrison11113100436.428000.2730.3640.2720.1860.2280.18386.88.4
 Higashioka, Kyle872100112.530.8112.50.2860.4290.3540.2910.350.33592.66.8
 Cordero, Franchy7510000033.3114.
 Trevino, Jose771000114.320000.1430.1430.1260.1870.2180.17480-2.8
 Cabrera, Oswaldo332001133.320000.6671.6670.9850.4691.0020.62110419.5
 McKinney, Billy2210000020000.50.50.4420.4670.5090.43681.534.5

Other key factors to keep in mind are:

  • The Yankees’ .301 OBS is over the Royals’ .293 OBS. 
  • The Kansas City Royals’ speed as they are 5th overall on Stolen Bases.
  • The Royals’ .372 SLG (28 th) vs Yankees’ .404 (15th overall)

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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