Start of a Road Stretch

The New York Yankees knew their stretch of 18 of 20 games on the road in April would be difficult. They just didn't figure it would start against a winning team.

The Yankees will be the opponents for the Kansas City Royals' home opener on Tuesday, as Royals starter Brian Bannister hopes to silence a second straight vaunted lineup - albeit one that will be without shortstop Derek Jeter.

Oddsmakers from have made New York -137 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -137 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

After opening their final season at Yankee Stadium with seven games at home, the Yankees (4-3) will now be on the road for nearly the entire rest of the month, on a trip that includes visits to Boston and Cleveland.

But playing at Kansas City could also be a challenge even though the Yankees have won 19 of their last 22 games against the Royals (4-2). Kansas City has matched its best start since 2003, and Bannister (1-0, 0.00 ERA) had perhaps the best outing of his career in a win over Detroit last week.

Bannister allowed just two singles in seven innings last Wednesday, when Kansas City beat the Tigers 4-0. He only struck out four, but walked none and was efficient, throwing just 86 pitches.

"I'm trying to approach (the Yankees) the same way I approached the Tigers," Bannister told his team's official Web site. "I knew coming in that my first two games were going to be a challenge, and I've been prepared for them. I'm just glad I got off to a good start, and I'm going to try to carry that momentum over."

He'll also try to forget last September's start at Kauffman Stadium, when the Yankees scored seven runs against him in five innings. Alex Rodriguez homered in both of his at-bats against Bannister.

After sweeping the Tigers in Detroit, the Royals avoided being swept by the Minnesota Twins with a 3-1 win on Sunday, as Kansas City's bullpen continued its early excellence. Royals relievers have allowed eight hits and two earned runs in 17 innings this season, striking out 22.

"Obviously, managers always want more, but I'm very, very happy with this road trip," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Nobody got too high, nobody got too low with the losses. Guys were determined to go home on a winning note."

Hillman spent more than a decade managing in the Yankees' minor league system, even spending some time with Jeter.

The Yankee captain left Monday's 6-1 win over Tampa Bay with a strained left quadriceps after just two innings. Jeter, who has played in at least 154 games each of the last four seasons, had an MRI and was ruled out for Tuesday's game, but it's unclear when he might return.

"Leg injuries aren't an exact science," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Hopefully it'll be less than a week but we'll have to see."

His absence didn't affect Monday's result, as Bobby Abreu went 3-for-3 with a triple, a home run and three runs scored to back Mike Mussina's six-inning, two-hit effort. Chien-Ming Wang had shut out the Rays for six innings in a 2-0 win Sunday.

Phil Hughes (0-0, 3.00) will try to make it three straight impressive starts by New York. He allowed two runs and four hits in a 3-2 win against Toronto last Thursday.

The Royals scored six runs in 4 2-3 innings against Hughes in his only appearance against them last August, with David DeJesus going 2-for-3 with a home run.

It's unclear if DeJesus will play due to an ankle injury he suffered on opening day in Detroit.

Here are some top trends for today's matchup:

-NY YANKEES are 30-28 (-15.8 Units) against the money line in day games over the last 2 seasons.

-KANSAS CITY is 81-111 (+24.8 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.

-BANNISTER is 9-1 (+9.7 Units) against the money line in day games over the last 3 seasons. (Team's Record)

by: Dave Michaels - – Email Us

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