Day 4 in Arizona took me back to Goodyear to watch the KC Royals face division rival Cleveland. It also gave me the chance to see Kris Medlen make the start for the Royals against Danny Salazar. I missed Medlen last year when I came out for spring training and Salazar has been one of my favorite pitchers for a couple of years.
Anyway, the ball was flying out, especially off the Indians bats (and that was before the wind started blowing).
Medlen induced a ground out from unconventional leadoff hitter Carlos Santana to start the bottom of the first. Then Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis went back-to-back, with Kipnis’ going to dead center, over the 404 sign (both were crushed).
In the second, rookie Tyler Naquin took Medlen deep. Naquin, battling for an Opening Day roster spot, almost hit one completely out of Goodyear Ballpark in the fourth off Medlen, but the fence around the lawn area kept it inside.
Medlen’s biggest issue was falling behind hitters, and then the Indians hitting “their” pitches hard (like Kipnis’ triple off Paulo Orlando’s glove in the left-center gap in the third).
So Medlen allowed five runs on seven hits and a walk over just 3.1 innings. He did strike out six. Lefty Brian Duensing was back on the mound for the first time since taking a grounder off his foot. He induced two ground outs to end the fourth.
Wade Davis followed with a scoreless fifth. Luke Hochevar blew the lead in the sixth by allowing two runs on three hits (a two-run double off the bat of Indians catcher Roberto Perez). He did strike out two.
Chien-Ming Wang induced three ground balls (one being a double play), though one was booted by shortstop Clint Barmes. David Huff pitched the eighth and escaped a two on, two out jam.
Now to the Royals offense…
They went down quickly and quietly in the first. Then with two outs in the second, they loaded the bases. However, Christian Colon flied out to end the inning.
The Royals finally broke through against Salazar in the third (for six runs to take the lead). It all started with Mike Moustakas‘ one out homer. With the bases loaded and one out, Orlando walked to bring in a run. Then Reymond Fuentes singled to right. It was booted by right fielder Marlon Byrd, allowing two more runs to score. Fuentes would score on a Cody Decker sac fly against Indians reliever Austin Adams.
Unfortunately, the Royals offense mustered two hits and two walks once Salazar left the game against five Indians relievers.
The highlight of my day came in the sixth when the backups entered on defense. That meant guys like Frank Schwindel (first base) and Logan Moon (right field), two players who were in Wilmington last season. Schwindel doubled in the seventh against Jeff Manship, but then made the final out of the game (a ground out to first base). Moon worked a one out walk against Indians closer Cody Allen in the eighth.
The plan for tomorrow is to head to Maryvale to see the Royals face Milwaukee. It will be my first time at the Brewers complex.
*Prior to the game, the Royals released veteran Ross Ohlendorf, who elected to opt-out of his contract yesterday. The Royals also reassigned pitchers Scott Alexander and Brian Flynn, catcher Parker Morin, and infielders Orlando Calixte and Dusty Coleman to minor league camp.