It took all of 15 minutes to remember the game was being played in the thin desert air. Back to back to back. Six batters, six runs. Welcome to the Cactus League.
Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios all teed off in the first to give the Royals the cushion for their first victory of the spring.
Am I crazy or does Hosmer's swing look a bit shorter? pic.twitter.com/rLm2IZTK0z
— Tom (@TJFsports) March 4, 2015
Cue the “Royals have discovered power!” dispatches.
Far be it for me to tell you how to react, especially when the Royals hit three consecutive home runs, but this isn’t our first rodeo. We know about Surprise and how it makes certain hitters look each spring. And we know about the harsh realities of bringing that offensive mojo to Kansas City, Detroit and Chicago.
Still, I can’t deny that it wasn’t fun to listen to as the barrage was unfolding. Even if it doesn’t count.
— The lineup for the first action of the exhibition season was situated like this:
Alcides Escobar – SS
Jarrod Dyson – LF
Lorenzo Cain – CF
Eric Hosmer – 1B
Kendrys Morales – DH
Alex Rios – RF
Mike Moustakas – 3B
Erik Kratz – C
Christian Colon – 2B
We know Escobar is going to get first crack at leading off when the regular season dawns. He drew a walk in the first to set off the six run rally, which clearly signifies his change in approach to be a better leadoff man. (That’s sarcasm, if you didn’t know. Maybe he changed his approach. Maybe he didn’t. What we do know is he walked in 3.7 percent of his plate appearances last year. A good leadoff man will walk around 12 percent of the time. One PA in Surprise tells us nothing.)
Yost hit Dyson second, but admitted he’s thinking of his options in that spot. In his mind at this moment he’s thinking of Cain, Rios or Alex Gordon. Personally, I’d nominate Gordon. If anything, the acquisition of Rios should push Gordon higher in the lineup, and that’s a good thing. Really, I’d like Gordon to return to the leadoff spot, but it’s difficult to be picky. Just anywhere higher than fifth. Please.
— Tim Collins, scheduled for an inning of work, exited with elbow discomfort after facing four batters in the fifth inning. The Royals are attempting to arrange an early Thursday morning MRI to learn more.
The left-hander is a key component to the middle of the Royals bullpen and represents something of a domino. Should Collins be out for any length of time, the Royals will be tempted to use Brandon Finnegan in the major league bullpen. That’s less than ideal. The team knows Finnegan’s value lies in the rotation and the hope has been for him to be shipped to the minors to open the season as a starter.
If Collins is out, the Royals will be searching for a left-handed replacement. Finnegan would definitely be the front-runner on the basis of his September and October performance, but Franklin Morales, Brian Flynn – acquired from Florida in the Aaron Crow trade – and Joe Patterson could be in the mix. Of the three, only Flynn is currently on the 40-man roster. Patterson and Morales would have to have exceptional springs to break north as both are in camp on minor league deals. Let’s face it… If Collins is truly hurt, the spot is Finnegan’s to lose.
When a pitcher leaves the game with what is termed an “elbow issue,” it’s certain to raise alarm bells. We should know more about the injury Thursday. Fingers crossed.
— From the Star, here’s Ned bringing some perspective to the offensive barrage unleashed by his almost A-Team.
— The Royals square off in another match against the Rangers on Thursday afternoon. Flynn gets his first opportunity to impress as he will start. He will be followed by Sean Manaea and Miguel Almonte.