It's going to take a special pitching performance to shut down New York's offense and end the Yankees' eight-game winning streak.
That's exactly what the Kansas City Royals hope to get from Daniel Lynch.
The host Royals and Yankees will conclude their three-game series Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Luis Severino (2-0, 3.32 ERA) will get the ball for the Yankees while Lynch (2-1, 3.38 ERA) will start for the Royals.
The Yankees are second in the American League in runs (100), home runs (29), OBP (.326), slugging (4.24) and OPS (.750).
The Yankees defeated the Royals 3-0 Saturday night to claim the three-game series, the 12th straight series triumph over the Royals dating to 2015. The Royals held the Yankees to only one extra-base hit, but eight walks allowed Yankees all over the basepaths.
Yankees starter Gerrit Cole threw six of the shutout innings and the Royals didn't threaten against the New York bullpen.
Lynch has been spectacular recently. He's had two consecutive scoreless outings, allowing six hits over 11 innings. He's the only Royals starter to record a win this year. He says there hasn't been anything special that has contributed to his success.
"I've been throwing a lot of strikes, attacking guys in the strike zone," he said. "I feel like I've been doing a good job of getting ahead of guys, not really putting myself in bad counts. I've been letting them put the ball in play and let the defense do their thing."
Lynch has struggled with throwing too many strikes. He threw better than 70 percent of his pitches for strikes and had seven strikeouts in five innings in his first start against the Cardinals. But he also allowed nine hits, including three home runs.
Now, he's finding the corners of the zone.
"Sometimes hitters hit good pitches," he said. "I feel like I'm getting ahead more. That might be getting hitters into forced positions to get good swings. Confidence is important for anyone, but for me, I have confidence that the pitch I'm about to throw is going to go exactly where I want it."
Lynch has only faced the Yankees once in his career, without recording a decision. He allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings last Aug. 10.
If Lynch and the Royals are going to stop the Yankees' streak, they'll have to do it against a pitcher who's had success against them in the past. Severino is 2-1 with a 4.42 ERA in three career starts.
He allowed two or fewer runs in his first three starts this season before allowing four in six innings in his last start. Three of those runs came on a home run by Baltimore's Anthony Santander. In fact, Severino carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning.
"I was pretty good, executing my pitches," Severino said. "In the sixth inning, I was behind in the count and walked a couple. The homer, I don't know how it got out. I don't know how to explain that."