(Photo credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
The New York Yankees and host Kansas City Royals will close a disappointing seasons on Sunday.
Despite going 14-12 in September to earn their first winning month since April 2021, the Royals (55-106) must win Sunday to avoid a franchise-record-setting 107th loss.
Meanwhile, the Yankees (82-79)will finish with their worst record since 1992.
Right-hander Michael King (4-7, 2.50 ERA) will take the mound on Sunday for New York. King is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four career appearances (one start) against Kansas City.
Sunday's start will be King's ninth of the season. He struck out 13 and allowed one run over seven innings in a hard-luck loss to Toronto on Sept. 20 before yielding just one hit over six scoreless innings in a no-decision to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
"A pretty great performance," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He was in, out, up, down. Slider, changeup, both fastballs. It was a pretty special performance by him."
Striking out 50 against just nine walks in 36 1/3 innings, King has a 1.49 ERA over his eight starts. He has gradually increased his pitch count as he transitioned from the bullpen.
"Getting on a full five-day routine is great," King said. "I feel like I've continued to evolve, and I'm hoping that the audition is successful."
"He's staking a pretty good claim," Boone said of King's rotation hopes. "Nothing has changed other than we're building him up now. He's had that fastball going for the last couple of years. It's exciting to see and hopefully a little glimpse of what's to come."
After splitting the first two games of the series, the Yankees need to win Sunday to capture the series. Should they accomplish that, they will extend their streak of series wins over the Royals to 16.
Kansas City last won a series from New York on May 15-17, 2015. The Yankees have won 26 of 28 season series against the Royals since 1995.
Right-hander Zack Greinke (1-15, 5.18) will start for Kansas City, anticipated to be his last in a Royals uniform. He is rumored to be contemplating retirement.
"(The fans have) always been great," Greinke, 39, told the Kansas City Star after a Sept. 20 start against Cleveland. "That was a big reason I wanted to come back to hopefully start winning the next couple years, because the city seemed different when the team was doing good, how much energy was in the city just walking around. So hopefully we start playing good again."
In 18 career appearances (15 starts) against the Yankees, Greinke is 4-5 with a 5.02 ERA.
Greinke hasn't won since May 3 and struggled to get beyond five innings. He allowed one hit over five shutout innings in Detroit during his most recent start on Tuesday.
The Yankees dropped a 12-5 decision in the series opener on Friday before posting a 5-2 victory on Saturday.
--Field Level Media