Yankees fail to recover from Rodon’s early jolt, lose 12-5 to Royals

Yankees pitcher Carlos Rodon reacts after his disastrous performance against the Royals in Kansas City on Sept. 29, 2023.
John Allen
Friday September 29, 2023

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New York Yankees 5, Kansas City Royals 12

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the opening game of their season-ending three-game series on Friday night, the Kansas City Royals made every at-bat count against Carlos Rodón, scoring runs with every batter they sent to the plate. This explosive performance led to a remarkable nine-run first inning. Additionally, Bobby Witt Jr. contributed a two-run home run, earning himself the distinction of becoming the first Royals player to join the 30-30 club. The Royals dominated the New York Yankees with a final score of 12-5.

Witt had a stellar performance, getting on base three times and contributing three RBIs. His seventh-inning home run marked his 30th of the season, adding to his impressive 49 stolen bases. With just one more steal, he will join the exclusive ranks of Eric Davis, Barry Bonds, and Ronald Acuña Jr. as one of the few players in the prestigious 30-50 club.

Carlos Rodón (3-8) had a challenging outing as all eight batters he faced crossed the plate, equating to one of the highest run totals surrendered in a start without recording an out in baseball history, dating back to at least 1901. He yielded six hits and issued two walks before Yankees manager Aaron Boone decided to remove him from the game.

The Royals, in an astounding display of offensive prowess, managed to put their first 10 batters on base, with the initial nine all scoring runs. This remarkable feat set a new franchise record for Kansas City.

Leveraging the substantial run support provided, Jordan Lyles (6-17) secured his second consecutive victory. The right-handed pitcher navigated through six somewhat unsteady innings, conceding five runs on four hits and a walk while notching four strikeouts.

Austin Wells had an impressive performance, highlighted by his three-run home run, ultimately tallying four RBIs for the Yankees.

To evade matching the 2005 team’s franchise record of 106 losses, the Royals (55-105) must accomplish a three-game sweep. Meanwhile, the Yankees (81-79) merely require a single victory in their final two games to secure their 31st consecutive winning season.

The disappointing inaugural year of Carlos Rodón’s lucrative six-year, $162 million contract reached a fitting end. In a mere 35 pitches without managing to record an out, Rodón surrendered four singles, two walks, a double, and Edward Oliveras’ undeniable home run into the New York bullpen.

Not even a consultation with Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake could put a halt to the onslaught.

This marked the highest number of batters faced by a starter without registering an out since Steven Matz encountered eight for the Mets back in 2019. Additionally, the ten consecutive hitters who reached base at the start of the game were the most against the Yankees since the Cleveland Indians achieved a similar feat against Catfish Hunter and Bob Kammeyer on July 27, 1978.

Rodón’s 2023 season got off to a challenging start as he began the year on the injured list due to a strained forearm, followed by a back injury that further delayed his return. His Yankees debut didn’t come until July 7, and during his initial stretch, he suffered losses in four out of his first five starts. Despite a relatively decent performance in the last month, even for a two-time All-Star, it was not enough to salvage his earned run average (ERA), which dipped to 6.85 after his performance on Friday night. New York struggled with a 3-11 record in games where he took the mound during the 2023 season.

The Royals continued their momentum even when facing reliever Matt Bowman. Their first out added another run thanks to Witt’s sacrifice fly, and the second out, a productive fielder’s choice by Oliveras, advanced the runners. Maikel Garcia and Salvador Perez, both of whom contributed three RBIs, each notched two hits in the first inning. The inning concluded with a controversial called third strike against Nelson Velázquez.

Although the Yankees managed to reduce their 10-run deficit by half by the sixth inning, Witt’s seventh-inning homer decisively sealed the game.

UP NEXT

On Saturday night, the Yankees will send right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt (9-9, 4.65 ERA) to the mound. As for the Royals, they have yet to determine their starting pitcher for the game.

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2 thoughts on “Yankees fail to recover from Rodon’s early jolt, lose 12-5 to Royals

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