Despite the Yankees' current three-game losing streak (against the rival Red Sox and rotten Royals, no less), I'm not particularly alarmed about how this team is playing. Win ten in a row here, lose three in a row there, that's more than acceptable. That said, there is no excuse for this team not to take the remaining two games of this series in Kansas City.
Joe Torre will be back in the dugout tonight, having served his one-day suspension resulting from the Quantrill-Tigers incident yesterday. Quantrill himself remains suspended for the duration of this series, which shouldn't matter much as he could use a break after his disastrous appearance on Sunday and Tanyon Sturtze, who worked one scoreless inning last night, is the only Yankee reliever to have pitched since then.
Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui got the park early yesterday to work on defense and hitting respectively. Matsui, whose drills focused on hitting off of a tee, responded immediately last night with his first homer since the Cretaceous Period (a.k.a. April 8). Rodriguez's results will reveal themselves over a longer period, but he did look good in the field last night.
The Royals are skipping the atrocious Jose Lima (8.13 ERA, 15 homers in 11 starts) tonight in favor of D.J. Carrasco, who has two quality starts in three attempts this season (the exception coming against the Orioles), but just five strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings (he's a contact/groundball type). Randy Johnson, who will take the hill for the Yanks, really needs to have a dominant outing having allowed 28 hits and struck out just 8 (against five walks) in his last three starts combined (18 2/3 IP), and there's no better team to do that against than the 2005 Kansas City Royals.