Looking to bounce back from a rough weekend, the Yankees begin a 12-game road trip without Joe Torre when they visit the woeful Royals, who named Buddy Bell their new manager Tuesday.
Torre was suspended for one game Tuesday and fined an undisclosed amount for his actions during last Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers.
The Yankees had Monday off to recover from the beating they took in the final two games of their series with the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. After winning Friday night’s opener, New York was outscored 24-3 in dropping the last two contests, including a 17-1, 27-hit pounding by Boston on Saturday.
On Sunday night, the Red Sox’s powerful lineup kept hitting, knocking out Mike Mussina after three innings en route to a 7-2 victory. David Ortiz hit two long home runs and Edgar Renteria also homered and got four hits for the Red Sox.
“The couple of good pitches I did make, they’d foul them off and then work until I made a mistake,” said Mussina, who allowed five runs and seven hits.
While dropping two of three to their hated rivals was disheartening, New York still has won 16 of 20 since a four-game losing streak from May 3-6, and a matchup with the Royals could give the Yankees an opportunity to stay hot.
Lacking speed, power and experience, the Royals are 13-37, 20 1/2 games behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central. Their record after 50 games is the same as the 1962 New York Mets, who lost a major league record 120 games, and the 2003 Tigers, who lost 119.
“It’s going to take some time to figure this out,” Bell said in a news conference at Kauffman Stadium Tuesday. “Right now we are looking for small victories.”
Kansas City lost its sixth straight Sunday, 7-6 to the Los Angeles Angels.
The defeat ended a painful series for the Royals, who blew a five-run lead in the ninth inning and lost 9-8 in 10 innings in the series opener Friday night, and were pounded 14-1 on Saturday.
In Sunday’s loss, Kansas City scored two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth before falling short again.
Bell, who was the bench coach for the Cleveland Indians, will be the first Royals manager in about two decades with previous experience as a major league skipper—something owner David Glass insisted upon after Pena resigned May 10.
Bell managed at Detroit 1996-98 and Colorado in 2000-02, compiling a record of 345-462.
“This was critical,” Glass said.
In Bell’s first year with the Tigers, Detroit lost 109 games. Now he’ll be in charge of a team on pace to do even worse.
Tony Graffanino went 5-for-5 with three RBIs Sunday for Kansas City, including a two-run single in the ninth.
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