After going 3-4 against on the road against the Tigers and Rangers, the Yankees kick off a six-game home set tonight against the 18-16 Kansas City Royals. After the Yankees get done sweeping the Royals, the Boston Red Sox will make their first 2011 trip to the Bronx. The Yankees have played decent ball so far, given their favorable home schedule, but the Yankees need to lay the wood to the Royals before getting ready for a heavy weight all graduation weekend long. Here are three things I’m going to be watching for:

1. Welcome Back to NY: The Kansas City Royals can attribute their success to a few different pieces, but two ex-New York ballplayers are leading the way. Ex-Yankee center fielder, Melky Cabrera and ex-Met right fielder, Jeff Francouer are the offensive stars so far. Cabrera is hitting .283 with three homers and 11 RBIs. Francouer has smacked eight home runs while hitting at a .302 clip. I can’t say the same for ex-Yankee backup, Wilson Betemit, who has one home run in 26 games.

2. Putting It All Together: Offensively for the Yanks, they live and die by the home run. This notion was evident during the road trip last week as the bats were just non-existant for the majority of the four-game set in Detroit. The Yankees erupted on Sunday against the Rangers, but the Yankees need to just punish the Royals in this three-game set. The Royal offense is decent, but they don’t have any pitching. Let’s see all the starters get a tune up before welcoming in the Roid Sox.

3. Starting Pitching: Outside of Colon’s stinker on Saturday night, the Yankee starters have been gutting out quality starts. This trend must continue if the Bombers want to start a winning streak.

Prediction for the week: With six home games this week, I expect the Yankees to go 5-1. I expect a full-out beat down of the Royals. I expect close games against Boston, but we will take 2 out of 3.