Kauffman Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Kansas City Royals this season. Tonight, the Royals take another crack at win No. 1 in front of the fans when they start a four-game series with the New York Yankees.
The Royals have opened the year with 10 straight home losses. It is the longest single-season slide in franchise history and is baseball's worst home start since the Chicago Cubs opened 0-12 at Wrigley Field in 1994.
Amazingly, it is also the worst AL beginning to a season since the 1913 Yankees played their first 18 games (including one tie) without a victory at the Polo Grounds.
"We have to play better, it doesn't matter if it's at home or on the road," Yost said. "Of course we want to play better in front of our fans at home. We want to give them something to cheer about and something to get excited about. But we have to play better -- period."
The Royals have gone 7-6 away from home and enter tonight's set on the heels of splitting a rain-shortened two-game set with the Detroit Tigers. Kansas City waited out Tigers' ace Justin Verlander and picked up a win on Wednesday at Comerica Park, as Chris Getz' RBI single in the ninth carried them to a 3-2 victory.
Jonathan Sanchez carried a no-hitter into the fifth before a two-out double ended it. Jose Mijares and Kevin Herrera also held the Tigers scoreless but Aaron Crow served up a game-tying two-run blast to Brennan Boesch in the bottom of the eighth.
Tim Collins (1-0) got the win after retiring the final two hitters in the eighth while Jonathan Broxton tossed a scoreless bottom of the ninth to record his fourth save of the season.
"We got two runs off of Verlander and kind of gave it up towards the end," said Mike Moustakas. "But we were able to battle back, and get some big hits and we were able to score a run, push it across and get Broxton in the game and close the door."
Tonight, the Royals will turn to young lefty Danny Duffy, who is 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA. Duffy hasn't pitched since April 22 when he lost his second straight start against the Toronto Blue Jays. He missed his next start because of soreness in his elbow.
Duffy lost his only other start against the Yankees, as he was pounded for eight runs in only three innings back on August 16.
New York, meanwhile, will hand the ball to 25-year-old righty David Phelps, who will be making his first big league start. Phelps has been impressive in a long-relief role for the Yankees and hasn't pitched since throwing three hitless innings against the Tigers on Saturday.
"Being a long man, it's kind of the same process as being a starter," Phelps said. "You want to go out there, give as many innings as you can, limit the damage as much as possible, and you want to take that into a start, too. Go out there, throw as many innings as you can, save the bullpen and give your team a chance to win."
Phelps grew up near Kauffman Stadium and will have a few dozen family members and friends in attendance this evening.
"I'm really excited," Phelps said. "I'm trying as much as I can to take it like it's any other game, but it's a big deal for me. It's going to be awesome. I'm gonna have a lot of family there."
The Yankees could certainly use a big start from Phelps after the team dropped two of three to the Baltimore Orioles, including Wednesday's 5-0 loss in the Bronx.
Ivan Nova (3-1) lost for the first time in 16 decisions and was knocked around for five runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.
To make matters worse, the Yankees will likely be without designated hitter/third baseman Eric Chavez for this series, as he left last night's contest with whiplash and a possible concussion and did not make the trip with the team. New York is already without Nick Swisher, who is day-to-day with a hamstring injury and Brett Gardner, who is on the disabled list with a strained right elbow.
The Yankees split six meetings with the Royals last season.