The Yankees clinched an American League Wild Card berth on Saturday, and their magic number to clinch home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game sits at just two. They currently sit five games behind the Red Sox for first place in the AL East.
The Royals will counter with rookie right-hander Jakob Junis (8-2, 4.05 ERA), who has gone from a fringe part of the Royals rotation to one its most reliable pieces.
"I've just been impressed with his consistency," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Junis. "He doesn't get rattled. He just goes out there every start and hits his spots and performs like a veteran."
Junis especially has been in sync since the All-Star break, posting a walk rate of 1.05 per nine innings. That is second best in the Majors behind Corey Kluber (0.92).
"He comes out and throws strikes," Yost said. "That's what you like to see."
Three things to know about this game
• Sabathia has been so-so in the month of September. In three starts he has a 4.60 ERA and opponents are hitting .308 off him with an .871 OPS.
• Royals outfielder Melky Cabrera is 6-for-16 (.375) with two homers off Sabathia.
• Alex Gordon of the Royals always has struggled against Sabathia (6-for-33, .182).
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.