It was a baseball filled final day in Arizona for me.
It started with the big league game in Surprise between the KC Royals and the Chicago Cubs. It was a HOT one, like recording breaking heat for this time of year. It was also a LONG game, as the first three innings took over an hour to complete. As my dad said, “it was like watching turtles play”.
Neither pitched really well, though Volquez did strike out eight over five plus innings. He allowed two runs on six hits, including a LONG home run to Cubs starting catcher Miguel Montero with two outs in the first (Montero played all nine innings).
The Cubs didn’t bring many regulars, but did bring a ton of prospects. Kris Bryant got a lot of cheers, but he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Things completely fell apart for the Royals in the later innings when the 1-2 punch of Wade Davis and Greg Holland were ripped by the Cubs minor leaguers.
Junior Lake greeted Davis with a bomb to dead-center in the eighth. After a Matt Szczur line out (a Villanova alum), Montero singled. Davis then rebounded with a fly out and a strikeout.
The Cubs scored four runs in the ninth off Holland, but the inning started out so well with a strikeout. After two straight one out singles, pinch-hitter (#90) Stephen Bruno (who graduated from my high school) doubled off the centerfield wall to drive in two runs. After a line out, Szczur homered.
That was the end for Holland and in came Scott Alexander, who got Montero to fly out to end the inning.
On the positive side, Joe Paterson and Chris Young dominated in their outings (one inning each). Paterson struck out two and neither threw more than 13 pitches.
The Royals offense collected just three hits, a double by Kendrys Morales and singles by Jarrod Dyson and Gabriel Noriega. Morales played such great defense at first base (I am being sarcastic).
Moving on to my night, where the Royals minor leaguers were playing four games against the Texas Rangers. The two lower levels were playing on the Royals practice fields, while the Triple-A teams were playing on the Rangers side.
I went to watch the Double-A teams play on the big league field.
Luke Hochevar started for the Royals and struck out the side around a Nick Williams one out triple. Next up was Jake Junis, who struggled through 3.2 innings. The Rangers scored three runs in the fourth and five overall against him. Williams homered off him.
Ali Williams was next (1.1 scoreless innings), but Andy Ferguson may have been the best. He struck out the side in the seventh and then two more in the eighth. I guess the Royals aren’t going to use Fergy in the rotation in Omaha this year (which is where he belongs).
On offense, Ethan Chapman started in centerfield and moved to right field later in the game so Bubba Starling could play the field. Chapman led off the game with a double and also had a bunt single. Starling walked in his first at-bat (but was thrown out trying to steal third base). He also tripled later in the game.
I’ll be up early on Monday for my flight home back to the winter weather on the East Coast. Hopefully it is a smoother ride home than it was here.
*I didn’t get a chance to see former Royal Spencer Patton pitch, but he stopped by the Double-A game tonight (he pitched the 2nd inning in the Triple-A game). I had the chance to talk to him and fingers crossed that he is back up in the big leagues soon (he is starting the year with Triple-A Round Rock).
**I took a lot of pictures and I will try to get them uploaded as soon as I can when I get home. I will let you know when they are up.