Yankees Thoughts: Royal Rout

Juan Soto returned to the field, Aaron Judge returned to the lineup and the Yankees blew out the Royals 10-1.

Here are 10 thoughts on the Yankees.

1. Brady Singer owned the Yankees in his previous two starts against them in 2022 and 2023: 13 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 19 K. Singer hadn’t allowed a home run to the Yankees since his first of four career starts against them back on June 22, 2021 when Luke Vogt and Kyle Higashioka took him deep. With Singer and Marcus Stroman on the mound on Tuesday night in Kansas City, I expected a low-scoring game.

2. Stroman held up his end of my expectation (5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K), but Singer got rocked. Anthony Volpe led off the game with a triple, Juan Soto walked, Aaron Judge singled in Volpe and Soto eventually came around to score on a groundout. Five batters into the game, the Yankees had scored as many runs off Singer as they had in the previous 13 innings against him and had a 2-0 lead.

3. The Yankees scored four more runs off him in the fourth, which included an Austin Wells three-run home run. (What was the camera work on that home run? It was made to believe Wells had hit an infield pop-up, when instead it was a straightaway-center bomb.)

“I was comfortable with that pitch to lefties,” Singer said of the pitch Wells hit 417 feet. “Maybe he was looking for it, but I just got to execute better.”

The Yankees scored a seventh run (unearned) against Singer in the sixth and had a 10-0 lead before the Royals scored their first and only run. Stroman threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings and he didn’t need to with the way the offense attacked Singer.

4. “The way these guys are swinging, it just makes this game fun,” Stroman said. “I feel like everybody is in their element and riding off of one another.”

Well, everybody but Rizzo, who was the only starter to not reach base safely.

Rizzo hit into an inning-ending double play in the first. He grounded out to first in the fourth. He reached on an error by the second baseman on a ground ball in the sixth. He hit a slow roller right in front of the plate for a groundout in the seventh and popped out to third in in the ninth. It was an 0-for-5 night for Rizzo as he remains 1-for-June (1-for-34 with a walk).

5. I don’t know what else the Yankees are supposed to do with him. He was just given back-to-back games off to clear his head and work on mechanics and returned to not hit the ball out of the infield in five at-bats. He’s not even walking anymore. He has one walk in June and two walks since May 11. Today is June 12.

6. The 25-year-old first baseman Ben Rice had 12 home runs and an .894 OPS in Double-A before being promoted to Triple-A where he has three home runs, nine RBIs and a 1.571 OPS in nine games. I would think the Yankees would want to get a look at him in the majors within the next six weeks to see what they have and if they will need to make a trade for a first baseman. (Or they know what they have and won’t call him up to keep his value high and use him in a trade.) Because they can’t have a complete zero at the plate from an offensive position.

7. Gleyber Torres needs to hit and then one of Rizzo or DJ LeMahieu has to as well. Torres has a .786 OPS over the last month (but just .661 in June), so he has been much better than he was in the first month of the season. LeMahieu has still only played in 11 games, so he’s owed some more time. But Rizzo seems more washed up by the day. I don’t see how he comes out of this.

8. Judge hit his 25th home run of the season in his 68th game. In 2022, he hit his 25th home run in his 60th game, so he’s not far off that pace. The 25th was a two-run shot off of Nick Anderson in the seventh inning. Giancarlo Stanton also tagged Anderson for a home run in the seventh. (In typical Stanton fashion, he hit a 446-foot blast with the Yankees already leading 9-0.)

Remember when Anderson was unhittable for the Rays against the Yankees? In his first two seasons with the Rays (2019-20), Anderson had 77 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings. Then he got hurt in 2021, missed all of 2022, and between last season with the Braves and this season with the Royals, he has 54 strikeouts in 61 innings.

9. The Yankees have the starting pitching edge in the third game of the series on Wednesday with Cody Poteet going against Dan Altavilla, who will be used as an opener. Altavilla pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in the series opener on Monday and it was his first major-league appearance in three years. He looked good against Alex Verdugo (strikeout), LeMahieu (strikeout) and Trent Grisham (groundout), but that’s a lot different than Volpe, Soto and Judge to open a game.

10. The Royals will be trying to piece together an entire game from their bullpen to avoid a fourth straight loss. Neither team has used its best relievers so far in the series, and I’m guessing the Yankees are hoping for five innings from Poteet before going to a combination of Caleb Ferguson, Tommy Kahnle, Luke Weaver and Clay Holmes for the final 12 outs. If the offense shows up on Wednesday like it did on Tuesday, it could be another night off for the elite relievers.