The last-place New York Yankees will have plenty of chances in the next two weeks to show their worried fans they can return to contention in the American League East
Not that playing before the home crowd brings any guarantees, either. The Yankees return to the Bronx for the first time since allowing six unanswered runs in a 7-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs on July 9, the game preceding the break. Shortly after that defeat, New York fired hitting coach Dillon Lawson and replaced him with Sean Casey
In six games since the change, the Yankees have gone 1-5 while batting .210. They have struck out 62 times, including 42 whiffs in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels
In the finale at Anaheim, Calif., on Wednesday, the Yankees fell behind 6-0 after three innings and lost 7-3. New York finished with eight hits but also struck out 16 times, two days after setting a season high with 17 strikeouts
"We stink right now," manager Aaron Boone said. "We acknowledge that."
Neither Boone nor hardly anyone else could have envisioned the team's struggles, even with star slugger Aaron Judge out due to a torn ligament in his right big toe. The Yankees are 15-22 without Judge, due a lack of productivity from most of the supporting cast
While Gleyber Torres is 17-for-43 (.395) during a 10-game hitting streak, Giancarlo Stanton is 4-for-24 (.167) since the break and Anthony Rizzo is 2-for-21 (.095). Rizzo has not homered since May 20 and has only six extra-base hits since that long ball.
"We're really not showing many signs of life," said rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe, who is 2-for-23 (.087) with nine strikeouts since the break. "We're not really stringing anything together."
The Royals head to New York after joining Oakland as the second team to reach 70 losses when they were held to four hits in a 3-0 home loss to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday afternoon
The Royals are 3-11 since consecutive home wins over the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 1-2. Further, Thursday marked the 12th time they were blanked and the 20th time they were held to four hits or fewer
"I know the (pregame) work was good," Kansas City manager Matt Quatraro said. "I know the plan was good. It was just a matter of execution."
Right-hander Clarke Schmidt (5-6, 4.31 ERA) opens the series for the Yankees. He is 3-0 with a 4.41 ERA over his past three starts and is unbeaten in his past six starts. Schmidt last pitched Saturday in Colorado, when he allowed two runs on three hits and tied a season high with eight strikeouts in six innings
Schmidt is 1-0 with no runs allowed in a pair of relief appearances totaling four innings against Kansas City.
Marsh allowed two earned runs in each of his past two outings after giving up five in his major league debut on June 30. He last pitched Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays, and he surrendered five hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts in six innings.
--Field Level Media