07/24/10 12:36 PM ET
A-Rod seeks No. 600; Royals go for split
By Bailey Stephens / MLB.com
Sean O'Sullivan, newly acquired from the Angels, will make his first start in a Royals uniform at the scene of his most recent start, Yankee Stadium, on Sunday afternoon.
Yes, less than a week ago, Sullivan kept the Yanks' high-powered offense mostly quiet, allowing just two earned runs in six innings to pick up the victory. It meant a lot for the hurler who was making just his 11th start to perform well on one of baseball's biggest stages.
"As a kid, the Yankees are the biggest team," O'Sullivan said after that start. "To get to pitch here, on their mound -- the loneliest place on earth, they say -- it's big."
He'll get another chance to replicate his success Sunday, and with a milestone waiting to be reached. For the record, Rodriguez did record an extra-base hit off O'Sullivan on Tuesday, a double. But with a successful start behind him, O'Sullivan is ready to face it head on.
"Just go out there and put yourself against guys who have been doing it for a long time," said O'Sullivan. "Future Hall of Famers. My last start here was my first start here, so I had some pretty good butterflies in the first inning. But after that I took a deep breath. It's just baseball."
And he'll get to oppose the same pitcher he beat that day, Phil Hughes. But Hughes is hoping for different results this time around after allowing six earned runs to the Angels last time out. The young pitcher says he's healthy and everything's fine, but even his backstop notices a difference.
"He's trying to do too much at times and not trusting [his stuff] a little bit," said catcher Jorge Posada. "It is frustrating. He feels good and everything is healthy, so you just move forward."
Hughes will aim to return to form against the Royals as the Yanks try to secure a series win in the finale.
Royals: Betemit on a roll
With another extra-base hit on Saturday, Wilson Betemit continues to swing a hot bat for the Royals. The third baseman is 12-for-his-last-32 (.375), including a 5-for-11 clip against the Yanks in this series. He'll try to finish it out strong as the Royals look to finish off the series with a win and earn a split.
Yankee Stadium hasn't been friendly to Kansas City historically, and in recent years, the trend has been even less favorable. The Royals are 6-27 in their last 33 games at Yankee Stadium following Saturday's win.
Yankees: A-Rod may DH in finale
The oppressive heat in the New York area has caused even more issues for the Yanks, who were already in the midst of playing 17 games in 17 days. As a result, manager Joe Girardi plans to mix up the lineup in an attempt to give some of his veterans a break. Derek Jeter served as the designated hitter on Saturday and A-Rod could be next on Sunday. "We're in a long stretch, it's hot. You're going to see me DH some different guys over the next few days just to get through this stretch.... We'll look at DHing Alex probably [Sunday]."
Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher was out of the lineup again Saturday with his sore left Achilles. He's making progress, but not enough for Girardi to give him a go. He pinch-hit in the eighth inning Saturday and expects to return to the lineup Sunday. ... With his two home runs, Mark Teixeira has reached base safely in 40 straight games. ... Joakim Soria recorded his 27th save of the season. ... With 5 1/3 innings of four-run ball, Kyle Davies picked up his first victory since May 28, spanning eight starts without a win.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.