Everything seemed to be working for the Royals pitching staff today in Arizona, as they held Colorado scoreless on seven hits and one walk.
Felipe Paulino started the game, his first appearance of the spring, and worked two good innings as he works to remain in the starting rotation. He reaped the benefits of inducing double plays in both innings and also coaxed another ground out while striking out one. Paulino should be safe when it comes down to deciding the rotation (barring injury), but having him put up a couple of good innings is good for his cause and, of course, good for the Royals.
Aaron Crow also saw his first action and was even better, striking out two and giving up just one walk in his two innings. He’s more of a longshot to crack the starting five and may just be better in the bullpen anyway, but the Royals are looking at him in case they’re pressed to use him in a larger role.
A few players continued hot streaks in early spring action. Lorenzo Cain had two hits and seems to be putting the ball in play every time up. That bodes well for him, as many have been concerned about his offensive ability as he tries to replace – somehow – a 200 hit season from Melky Cabrera. It’s still early and he could always slump the last three weeks of spring, but he’s been one of the more impressive players in the young Cactus League season.
Max Ramirez continued to rake, hitting his third spring homer and getting his seventh RBI. It’s still not likely that he’ll really push Brayan Pena for the backup job, but if he keeps hitting, the Royals won’t have a choice. Pena is out of options though so he’s got nowhere to go, and should be a decent enough backup for Salvador Perez.
Alex Gordon also ripped a double to open the game.
The Royals made a number of outs on the basepaths, and have been getting thrown out in other games as well. Ned Yost made a point to be aggressive on the basepaths last year so that’s probably the plan this year too. My hunch is that the Royals are seeing what they can and can’t get away with now so it gives them an idea of what they should be aware of once the season starts. Last year’s team made a lot of things happen by being aggressive but they also ran themselves out of innings. That’s a tough balance to hit, but that’s also what spring training is for – to find it out.
The Royals will play the Reds tomorrow at 2:05 p.m. CST. Danny Duffy will make his first spring appearance.