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Josh Vernier


Royals Play Two, Win None

-Royals (23-7-2) didn't pick up a win in a pair of split-squad games today, falling to Milwaukee 9-1, and tying the Cubs in the night cap 9-9 in 10 innings.
-In the loss to Milwaukee this afternoon, Luis Mendoza made his first start since being named to the rotation. HIs final line was 5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. The two unearned runs came in the 5th inning on a ground ball to third baseman Miguel Tejada. The former A.L. MVP made the pick-up, but slipped while racing to the base for the force-out. In the 2nd inning, Brewers shortstop Jean Segura hit a  sharp ground ball was hit to Tejada, but he was unable to snag in with a backhanded attempt. The play was scored as a double, but in my opinion should have been tallied as an error. Segura went on to score, so that run could be viewed as unearned, as well.
-Despite the ten hits allowed by Mendoza, only one was hit hard, a two-run home run from Rickie Weeks. "Most of the hits were ground balls," Mendoza said. "That's what I'm looking for. That means my ball is moving down." Mendoza is in line to start the second game of the Philadelphia series on April 6th.
-LHP Francisley Bueno allowed just one hit in his one inning of relief. Following the game, Bueno, along with infielder Irving Falu, were optioned to AAA-Omaha. Earlier in the day, fellow lefty reliever Donnie Joseph was optioned to Omaha, as well. This means a few things.
-The move of Falu assures Miguel Tejada, Elliot Johnson and Jarrod Dyson of the three utility positions. Those, coupled with the optioning of David Lough earlier in the week, mean the 13 position players are all but set. Max Ramirez is still on the roster, but I don't expect that to be for much longer. He'll be optioned to Omaha within the next few days. Speaking of Tejada, he was the offensive star in the loss to Milwaukee, going 2-for-3 with a walk. The team only had two hits, so it wasn't hard to find the stand-out.
-As far as Bueno and Joseph are concerned, this means that Ned Yost and Dayton Moore are content with Tim Collins and Bruce Chen as the lone left-handers on the pitching staff. It also narrows the candidates for the final bullpen spot. J.C. Gutierrez, Dan Wheeler and Louis Coleman are in the mix, but Gutierrez is the only one without remaining minor league options. Gutierrez threw a perfect inning of relief in the tie against Chicago, striking out a pair.
-The only other remaining position battle is between George Kottaras and Brett Hayes for the right to back-up catcher Savador Perez. I believe Kottaras deserves the spot.
-In the night game, James Shields made his final start before Monday's Opening Day in Chicago. He faced the minimum through the first four innings, allowing just one hit, but erasing it with an inning ending double play. His final line was 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. "I ended (spring) strong," Shields said. "I felt very good out there, very crisp."
-Shields continued after the game, "Our team's ready to go. One of the things I'm most proud of is the way we handled ourselves in the clubhouse, and translated our attitude in the clubhouse out on the field. I think that's one of the reasons we won so many games this spring training, and hopefully we can translate that it into the season...This team's really good. We're fundamentally sound. Fundamentally sound."
-It was another offensive show in the late game. Lorenzo Cain hit his 2nd home run in the 2nd inning. Mike Moustakas tied Alex Gordon for the team lead in home runs (5) with his lead-off blast in the 3rd, followed by a centerfield shot from Salvador Perez, his first. Gordon didn't let Moose enjoy it for too long, as he connected on his sixth home run of the spring in the very next inning.
-Chris Getz had the rare 6-for-6 night. He hit four singles, a double and a triple, raising his spring average to .450. Cain, Moustakas and Gordon also have a spring average above .400.
-The one low-light of the night was Luke Hochevar's first blow-up appearance since being moved to the bullpen. He was leaving a lot of his pitches up in the zone, and surrendered five runs on five hits, along with one walk in just two-thirds of an inning.
-I won't call Aaron Crow's inning and a third of two-run ball a low-light. He cleaned up Hochevar's mess in the 8th, but then started the 9th inning with a double to left field. Then a long fly ball to centerfield tipped off the glove of Lorenzo Cain and went for a triple, but seemed to be a ball that Cain would normally get.

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Topics : Sports
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Locations : ChicagoMilwaukeeOmahaPhiladelphia
People : Aaron CrowAlex GordonBrett HayesBruce ChenBuenoChris GetzDan WheelerDavid LoughDayton MooreDonnie JosephElliot JohnsonGeorge KottarasIrving FaluJ.C. GutierrezJames ShieldsJarrod DysonJean SeguraLorenzo CainLouis ColemanLuis MendozaLuke HochevarMax RamirezMiguel TejadaMike MoustakasNed YostSalvador PerezSavador PerezTim Collins

03/27/2013 11:56PM
Royals Play Two, Win None
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