UPDATE: So much for this preview! BBC has now changed the game to Padres-Giants at 21.00
The New York Yankees make their debut on BBC radio this evening as the current leaders of the American League East division take on the Kansas City Royals.
Coverage begins at 19.00 on DAB radio and Digital TV, with first pitch at Kauffman Stadium set for 19.10.
Fans of the major east coast teams have been a little disappointed so far that their sides have not been featured much on the BBC show.Â Thatâ€™s been a product of the scheduled start time, as east coast day-games generally begin at just gone 18.00 and the 19.00 start therefore means that teams from the mid-west have taken precedent.Â
This is the first time since BBCâ€™s coverage began that the Yankees have been on the road at a central team on a Sunday and itâ€™s no surprise that they have immediately been chosen as the game of the week.
The Yankees lived up to their nickname as the Bronx Bombers yesterday as they slugged five home runs off the Royalsâ€™ pitching staff in an 8-3 victory.Â
Three of those bombs can courtesy of Alex Rodriguez.Â He went through a high-profile home run drought after he hit his 599th career long ball against the Royals on 22 July.Â Like a batsman whose fluency deserts him as he enters the 90s, A-Rod understandably let the pressure of hitting number 600 get to him a bit.Â Now that he has passed that mark, such thoughts are no longer clouding his mind and the Royals paid for it yesterday.Â Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson also hit back-to-back jacks as Kauffman Stadium turned into souvenir city.
While the Yankees sit at the top of the AL East, two games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Kansas City Royals are having another season of struggles in the AL Central.Â
The Royals havenâ€™t made it back to the postseason since they won their only World Series in 1985 and they have only won more games than theyâ€™ve lost in a season once in the last fifteen years (83-79 in 2003).Â There is now a glimmer of light at the end of this depressingly long tunnel as the Royalsâ€™ farm system, the young players within their Minor League organizations, is rated as one of the best, if not the best, of all the MLB teams.Â The Big League team has also showed signs of improvement since former Milwaukee Brewers manager Ned Yost took over from Trey Hillman thirty-five games into the season.Â
Todayâ€™s game is the fourth and final game of the series, with the YankeesÂ leading 2-1.
The Yankeesâ€™ A.J. BurnettÂ has struggled to go deep into games over the last couple of months.Â For a front-line starter signed on a 5 year/$82.5m contract prior to the 2009 season, thatâ€™s not good enough and no one is more aware of that, or more frustrated by it, than Burnett himself.Â He had a terrible June, losing all five of his starts, andÂ has been inconsistent since then. Thereâ€™s no doubt he still has the stuff to dominate and the Yankees need him to start pitching at his best down the stretch.Â Burnett has a blazing fastball and a decent change-up, but his signature pitch is a â€˜snap dragonâ€™ curveball.Â
The Royalsâ€™ Brian Bannister has a completely different approach to Burnett.Â Heâ€™s not going to dominate many lineups and needs to use cunning and craft to get the better of his opponents.Â
Bannister uses the traditional four-pitch arsenal of a fastball (in the high 80s), curve, slider and change-up and is best-known for being one of the keenest followers of advanced statistical analysis among active Major Leaguers. Bannister is 7-11 with a 5.95 ERA this season and has taken a loss in each of his last five outings.