Early Pitching Struggles Lead To The Royal's Demise Against Yankees

Kansas City will look to pick up their first win of the series against the New York Yankees.
Jun 4, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Maikel Garcia (11) celebrates his single in the third inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 4, 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Maikel Garcia (11) celebrates his single in the third inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

The Royals 11-5 loss to the Yankees was a culmination of everything this team struggles with exemplified.

Kansas City made the decision to push Dan Altavilla to the starting mound as part of Matt Quatraro's desire to spice up a rotation that's missing one of its top guys in Michael Wacha. Altavilla was attempting to play an "opener" role for the Royals before he was supposed to be relieved by Daniel Lynch for a majority of the game. Unfortunately for Kansas City, Altavilla wouldn't make it past the first out. Lynch would come in down two runs with the bases loaded and only a single out. The Royals would have been better off just allowing Lynch to take the mound in a traditional start.

The Royal's early pitching struggles continued in this game, allowing another collection of first-inning runs to be earned by the Yankees. The Royals constantly starting in a losing position has created an almost impossible-to-break cycle of going down early and not being able to crawl back. The Royal's big comeback win over the Mariners last week was an example of an outlier more than anything else. Despite great offensive games from players like Bobby Witt Jr and Salvador Perez, the offense was too inconsistent to go run-for-run with the likes of the Yankees big three. The Royals will attempt to not get swept as they conclude the series with the Yankees at 1:10 p.m. tomorrow.

How It Happened:

9:53 p.m. - The Royals put two more runners on base but it always seemed too little too late for Kansas City. They suffer their third straight loss to the Yankees and will attempt to avoid the sweep tomorrow. 11-5 Yankees

9:39 p.m. - Kansas City is resilient. Even when the game seems to be put away, the Royals continue to make noise on the base paths putting two on before being retired in the bottom of the eighth inning. It always seemed like too little too late for Kansas City, but their insistence to fight shows a lot of pride and tenacity in this young team. 11-5 Yankees

9:19 p.m. - The Royals put together another surge, this time adding three runs all while having two outs on the board. Unfortunately it's only enough to cover the runs given up by the Torres home run last inning, meaning the Royals are still down six runs going into the eigth inning. Witt Jr and Pasquantino add RBIs, but this would make it the fourth series in a row the Royals have lost a game after scoring 5+ runs. Though Witt Jr has played well, and Perez picks up his first career game with 3+ drawn walks. 11-5 Yankees

9:00 p.m. - You could count the positives for the Royals in this game on one hand and still have most of your fingers left. It has been an absolutely abysmal night for the Royals on both sides of the plate barring a single half inning. Another home run, this time provided by Gleyber Torres, gives the Yankees three more runs. Both Royals pitchers have allowed over five earned runs in this one. There is a lot to be learned from losses, but the coaching staff may be better off burning the tape of this one and coming back on a clean slate tomorrow. 11-2 Yankees

8:51 p.m. - An inning that would usually be called a success for the Royals is overshadowed by the remaining six-run defecit. The Royals managed to bring home two, but still find themselves with a more than tough deficit to come back from. That's why it is so crucial for the Royals to not take themselves out of games early. Kansas City has the ability to score runs quickly, but when you go down by a margin of six runs before coming to the plate you are doomed for failure. 8-2 Yankees

8:41 p.m. - The Royals finally have a star show up to play as Bobby Witt Jr extends his hit streak to 13 games with an RBI double. Kansas City now has the same amount of hits this inning as in the previous five innings combined. It can't be this hard for the Royals to produce offense against the back halves of rotations no matter who Kansas City is playing. Cody Poteet goes 5.1 innings and only allows a single run on 88 pitches. 8-1 Yankees

8:33 p.m. - Kansas City's offense has been lifeless through this contest. It matches their season-long struggle with consistency and not relying on explosive innings. The production from the Royal's young stars has just not been there. It is very possible the Royals have a breakthrough moment in this game, putting on multiple runs in an inning, but the deficit and the offensive inconsistency inning-by-inning are putting the Royals in a crater-sized hole. 8-0 Yankees

8:22 p.m. - Lynch made his first big mistake of the game, allowing Stanton to take him deep over the left field wall. Royals pitchershave been extremely succeptiable to the home run ball not just in this series, but their entire June slump as a whole. Going back to allowing back-to-back leadoff home runs to J.P. Crawford, the Royals have been getting blasted by the long ball. 8-0 Yankees

8:13 p.m. - Daniel Lynch has looked good in this game. Outside of the home run that he allowed in the first inning he has not allowed much from the Yankees. He has held New York scoreless and hitless since the first inning as well. Quatraro's decision to not only go with an opener, but an opener that had only pitched a single time for the Royals after over 1000 days away from baseball is a questionable one at best. The Royals wanted to try something different with Wacha absent from the rotation and it backfired big time. 6-0 Yankees

7:50 p.m. - Lynch has looked much better in the last two innings, you have to wonder where the Royals would be if they just elected to start him the traditional way. The hitting has been slow but Lynch has only allowed a single earned run thus far. 6-0 Yankees

7:40 p.m. - The Royals just can't get out of their own way. The Yankees looked like a much superior team through the first two games of the series, and they look that way again today. The Royals were gifted a baserunner with an infield error just for Nelson Velazquez to hit into a routine double play. The pitching looks devoid of confidence so far and the offense is falling back into its bad habit of inconsistency. 6-0 Yankees

7:25 p.m. - Kansas City has a problem. They are getting beat up often and early by the Yankees. New York managed to bring nine total batters to the plate before Kansas City could pick up its first three outs. The Royals won't make it very far in the postseason or to the postseason at all if they keep finding themselves down five or more runs before they even get a chance to hit the ball. The injury to Michael Wacha has left this team with a major gap in its rotation that is costing them crucial games in a tight division race. Daniel Lynch was brought in to face a bases-loaded situation and allowed all three runs to score, plus a run of his own on a three-run Trevino home run. 6-0 Yankees

7:20 p.m. - The Royals have had an epidemic of bad first innings this month. Altavilla only retired one of the first six batters that he faced. It has been a familiar story for Kansas City as they've allowed a first inning run in their last seven games. Matt Quatraro pulls Altavilla and wastes the concept of an opener early. Daniel Lynch will now start with one out, bases loaded, and already losing by multiple runs. 2-0 Yankees

7:10 p.m. - The game is underway as the unconvential "opener" Dan Altavilla gets the game started.

Kansas City, MO. - The Royals have struggled against the Yankees so far. The Royals pitching staff has struggled especially, not just with the Yankees but the entire month of June. Matt Quatraro has decided to change it up and go to an "opener" role to start this game. Dan Altavilla will make his first career start and just his second appearance for the Royals.

Kansas City will have to not get in trouble early if they want to win this game. The Royals have allowed a first-inning run in a large multitude of games ranging back to the Cleveland series. If Kansas City wants a shot to win this game and keep the split alive while playing the back end of their rotation, they need to hit the ball early and hard before the Yankees can pull ahead. The Royals always have a chance in close games, the issue they have been facing is that they are down more than they can handle early and it becomes unsurmountable.

How to watch:

Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, MO.

When: First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT. 

TV:  You can watch the game on Bally Sports KC or MLB.TV (blackouts may apply depending on location).

Starting Pitchers

KC - Dan Altavilla (0-0, 0 ERA, First Career Start)

NY - Cody Poteet (2-0, 1.72 ERA)

Batting Order/Lineup

KC: 1. Maikel Garcia (3B) 2. Bobby Witt Jr. (SS) 3. Vinnie Pasquantino (1B) 4. Salvador Perez (C) 5. Nelson Velazquez (RF) 6. Nick Loftin (2B) 7. Freddy Fermin (DH) 8. Garrett Hampson (LF) 9. Kyle Isbel (CF)

NY: 1. Anthony Volpe (SS) 2. Juan Soto (RF) 3. Aaron Judge (CF) 4. Giancarlo Stanton (DH) 5. Alex Verdugo (LF) 6. Gleyber Torres (2B) 7. Anthony Rizzo (1B) 8. Jose Trevino (C) 9. DJ LeMahieu (3B)

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Austin Bidwell

AUSTIN BIDWELL

Austin is a sports journalist from Kansas City, Mo. He is a freshman at The University of Missouri-Columbia, pursuing a degree in sports journalism.