The Royals Winning Streak Ends. Tomorrow Is a New Day.


After twelve undefeated games, the Royals finally brushed up against disappointment this spring. While dreams of a perfect spring – nay, a perfect 2013 – danced in their heads, the Royals were sunk by the Seattle Mariners in Thursday’s spring action.

Blame Stefen Romero, who hit a grand slam off of Guillermo Moscoso in the fourth inning, then launced a three-run homer in the ninth against Anthony Ortega. He and Casper Wells contributed 11 RBIs in the 12-2 win as Kansas City pitchers gave up three homers as a team.

Feb 21, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Ervin Santana (54) poses for a picture during photo day at the Royals Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

You’d probably prefer something positive to wash away the defeat . How about this – none of the pitchers with a decent chance to make the team gave up big innings. Ervin Santana had three strong innings in his second appearance as a Royal which included four strikeouts, no walks and only one run allowed. Even better, his velocity was comfortably in the 91-92 range (around his average) and touched 93 and 94 mph. Since Santana is considered an injury risk (after losing velocity and command last year), hanging around his average velocity should be a good sign going forward (even if Buster Olney said some scouts think Santana is the next Jonathan Sanchez).

Louis Coleman and Donnie Joseph also threw scoreless innings. Coleman walked one and struck out one. Joseph continued his strikeout barrage, adding two more to his spring total of nine in four innings. He’s allowed one hit. If there’s any consideration of taking the best player rather than trying to protect a lesser non-option player, Joseph is going to make the team out of spring training at this rate. More likely, though, he’ll start in Omaha and Francisley Bueno will probably be the left-handed specialist.

There will be other games and other opportunities and perhaps the Royals can rattle off another streak of twelve unbeaten games – that will be erased once the regular season starts.

Other Spring Notes:

March 6, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is seen in the dugout with a cut lip after a collision with Arizona Diamondbacks left fielder Adam Eaton (not pictured) in the first inning during a spring training game at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

-In Wednesday’s game, Mike Moustakas got a fat lip from Adam Eaton while tagging him during a rundown. Eaton was picked off second by James Shields and as he tried to evade an approaching Moose (and who wouldn’t try to avoid a fast-charging moose, right?), he popped Moustakas in the mouth accidentally. Moustakas afterward suggested that Eaton doesn’t have much feel for the game. He’ll be fine.

Jeff Francoeur has been playing more DH than right field the last couple of days due to minor hip soreness. It doesn’t seem to be an issue of much concern. Yet.

Ned Yost raised eyebrows by saying that he was going to try Chris Getz and Johnny Giavotella in the outfield this spring to get a look at them and to potentially increase their versatility. Reactions raised from critically snarky to reasonably critical of the wisdom of the move, to generally supportive of adding some utility.

My thoughts are that it’s bizarre timing to do such an experiment. Getz hasn’t played the outfield since the minors and Giavotella has two whole innings there as a pro. Neither would be the type of ballplayer one would expect to make a quick transition like that, especially after the immensely more talented Alex Gordon took most of 2010 to make such a transition. It’s likely just a thought for emergency purposes and may have just been an off the cuff mention of what they might try with the two second basemen (I was not there to get the context of the statement – and the comment has significantly different weight if Yost opens his daily media session with that tidbit versus if he’s closing out and tosses it out as a quick answer to a follow up).

Neither of their bats are likely to play well in the outfield and if Giavotella’s biggest knock – and the reason given for his banishment in Triple A before debuting in the majors – is his defense at second, then is it safe to assume that he’s suitably made adjustments at his primary position? Why else start moving him around? I’m all for more flexibility, but if the Royals turn around and claim that Giavotella (or Getz for that matter, even though everyone should know my feelings on that battle by now) weren’t adequately prepared for this or that reason after spring training, then it should come back to a question of how much time they spent tinkering in the outfield.

I don’t expect it to get any traction. Neither have the arm to play right field and would be suspect in left field as well.

Danny Duffy is throwing curveballs on flat ground now as he works towards a June or July return after Tommy John surgery last season.

Tomorrow, the Royals have split squad games. Noel Arguelles will start in the afternoon against the Cleveland Indians. Jeremy Guthrie will start against the Colorado Rockies in the evening.