SURPRISE, Ariz. — Even Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie joined the Cactus League fun Wednesday night with a tweet in advance of todays game against a Seattle split squad at Surprise Stadium.
By BOB DUTTON
The Kansas City Star
I can barely sleep tonight, biggest spring training game ever tomorrow!
Thats tongue-in-cheek, of course, but the Royals, 11-0-1, are creating some national buzz after extending their winning streak to 11 games Wednesday with an 8-1 romp against Arizona in Scottsdale.
Seattle has been nearly as hot -- until the closing innings Wednesday when it permitted a three-run lead to slip away in a 7-6 loss to Milwaukee. That means the Mariners arrive at 10-2.
But they also arrive with Felix Hernandez as their scheduled starter. It all starts at 2:05 p.m. Central time and can be heard in Kansas City on KCSP (610 AM).
Ervin Santana is scheduled for his second spring start. He worked two scoreless innings last Friday in a 3-2 victory over Cincinnati. Guillermo Moscoso, Louis Coleman and Donnie Joseph are also scheduled to pitch.
Heres the lineup: LF Alex Gordon, SS Alcides Escobar, 3B Mike Moustakas, CF Lorenzo Cain, DH Jeff Francoeur, RF David Lough, 1B Elliot Johnson, 2B Johnny Giavotella and C Brett Hayes.
The Royals enter the game with the Cactus Leagues top two hitters: Alex Gordon at .524 (11 for 21) and Mike Moustakas at .520 (13 for 25). They also lead all 30 teams with a .342 average -- Oakland is second at .315.
Pitching has been even better. The Royals 2.75 ERA and 1.12 walks and hits per inning (WHIP) are easily the best in the majors. The Yankees ranked second at 3.66 and 1.25.
The next-best Cactus League team is the White Sox at 3.72 and 1.26.
Just remember ... none of it counts.
Some items worth noting from World Baseball Classic exhibition games:
• First baseman Eric Hosmer went one for five for the USA, which blew a five-run lead in the ninth in an 8-7 loss to Colorado. He joined the squad Wednesday as a replacement for injured Mark Teixeira.
• Catcher Salvy Perez went three for four for Venezuelas in a 14-10 victory over the Mets.
• Infielder Irving Falu played second base and went one for two for Puerto Rico in an 8-7 victory over the Twins.
• Infielder Miguel Tejada walked and scored in his only at-bat for the Dominican Republic in an 8-2 victory over the Yankees. Reliever Atahualpa Severino yielded the Yankees only two runs on a homer by Zoilo Almonte.
Keep those questions coming on twitter to @Royals_Report. Here is todays exchange.:
@DaneCallstrom: So what the heck happened with Moose and Eaton?
Arizonas Adam Eaton was picked off second base by Royals pitcher James Shields in the first inning of Wednesdays game in. Shields threw the ball to third baseman Mike Moustakas, who chased down Eaton and applied the tag. Eaton raised his forearm, possibly to protect himself against a hard tag, and clipped Moustakas in the lip.
@A_Newkirk: Most comedic moment in ST thus far?
Watching Felipe Paulino absolutely dominate the Harlem Shake video that also included Salvy Perez, Luis Mendoza, Bruce Chen and Kelvin Herrera. @85royal: Collins got roughed up in his last game, & has been far from dominating this spring. should the Royals be concerned?
If the 11-0-1 record isnt cause for heightened expectations -- and I dont think it is -- then a struggling performance shouldnt cause for great concern. Tim Collins got hit around some Tuesday when he pitched for the USA national team against the Chicago White Sox, but he struck out the side in his last outing for the Royals. No concern. Not yet anyway.
@JohnnyUtah81: Now that Hosmer is with WBC and Team USA, who else will see time at the number 3 position? Aside from Billy, who's backup? Assume you mean first base (since Eric Hosmer also has been batting third). Elliot Johnson is starting there today. I think well also see Max Ramirez, Xavier Nady, Brandon Wood and even Anthony Seratelli.
@zams88: How do you feel realistically about the Vegas 78.5 O/U win total?
I think its low. I think .500 is a more reasonable bar, but the folks in Vegas are usually pretty good at what they do.
@jeff_fett: Who is the one player right now that is struggling in ST and needs to make some big improvements before opening day?
I dont know about struggling because everything is still a small sample size, but Johnny Giavotella probably needs to show more at the plate in order to be the starting second baseman over Chris Getz.
@TaylorABurton: are we going to see Zimmer or Starling at all this Spring?
In big-league camp? I cant imagine.
@todpalmer: True or false, Duttonator: The #Royals will win a game on the season's first homestand?
I can see youre already pushing for implementation of the five-out rule.
@_RobMartin: Roster/salary issues aside, who has played well enough to make team based only on spring performances? Especially pitchers.
Outfielder David Lough is nine for 17 and always seems to make solid contact. Left-hander Will Smith has allowed one tainted run in seven innings over three appearances while allowing just two hits and striking out eight.
@soobio: if a starter gets traded at the end of ST, do you see it being a ML 4th OFer or a legitimate prospect that goes to OMA?
I dont know that any of them can net a top-quality prospect in return. My guess is the Royals would try for a fourth-outfielder type with some pop potential.
@sstorm89: If there is no clear winner for #5 spot this ST, could the competition extend into regular season for the 3 pitchers?
I dont think so. I think the Royals will choose a fifth starter from the three candidates -- Luke Hochevar, Bruce Chen and Luis Mendoza. But the leash will be short on whoever wins the job.
To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow his updates at twitter.com/Royals_Report.