Cactus League Game 31 Open Thread

Greinke and the Royals on the same diamond once more. - USA TODAY Sports

Yes, we are all getting tired of Spring Training, but a television game at night with Zack Greinke pitching against the Royals? This one has some appeal.

Too much basketball this weekend? The cure comes tonight with an exciting (or as exciting as they can get) spring training match-up between the Dodgers and Royals. First off, Zack Greinke is scheduled to start for LA. Second, the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Kansas City (and MLBN, too). Third, it is an 8:10 Central start time: put the kids to be early, stock the fridge and have some fun. Look at it as your spring training for Opening Day just one week from now.

The Lineup:

Gordon LF

Escobar SS

Butler DH

Moustakas 3B

Perez C

Hosmer 1B

Cain CF

Francoeur RF

Getz 2B

This is looking more and more like the Opening Day batting order and, given that you knew Frenchy and Getz would be in the nine, about how I would have designed the order myself. Sure, part of Ned Yost's thought process included the phrase 'say Gordon gets on first and Esky moves him over', but we all knew that was coming, too. It is not a bad order to start out with and if Hosmer and Cain hit their way up the line during the season, all the better.

On the mound will be Wade Davis who may be as much or more critical to the Royals' 2013 chances as anyone not named Hosmer. Without question, Davis by himself can go a long ways towards justifying Dayton Moore's off-season should he realize the promise that caused Tampa to give him a long term deal two years back.

Curious about the Omaha Stormchasers? You can catch a season preview from Mark Nassar, their play-by-play guy tonight.

If you have tickets to the home opener or just plan on skipping work and drinking (notice a theme?) two Mondays from now, pay particular attention to whom Ned finally officially names the number two starter. It looks as though Ned-Frank is leaning towards Ervin Santana in that spot. Whoever gets that second slot and the Wednesday start in Chicago will, barring rainouts, certainly be the starter April 8th in Kansas City.

That is not dependent on whether the Royals juggle the rotation to keep the 'big four' in normal rest. If they decide to skip the fifth starter to take advantage of the Tuesday off-day in Chicago and start Shields on Saturday the 5th, they will still have to come back with the fifth starter on Sunday:

  • Monday, April 1 at Chicago - Shields
  • Tuesday, April 2 - off
  • Wednesday, April 3 at Chicago - #2
  • Thursday, April 4 at Chicago - #3
  • Friday, April 5 at Philly - #4
  • Saturday, April 6 at Philly - either #5 or Shields
  • Sunday, April 7 at Philly - Shields or #5 (whichever does not pitch on Saturday)
  • Monday, April 8 in KC - #2
My prediction is Santana will get the nod and give up two hits (both home runs) over eight innings, with four walks and nine strikeouts. And no, I'm not serious about anything after the word 'nod'.

Times may have not changed enough for a lot of us, but they have changed some. Endy Chavez was dropped by the Royals, with whom he had virtually no chance of playing, and was immediately scooped up by the Mariners, with whom he has a very real chance of making the team. After years of Ruben Mateo, Abraham Nunez (not that one, the other one), Chip Ambres, etc., it is nice to have Kansas City's camp filler be desired as actual players by other teams.

Unless I missed it, Freddy Sanchez has yet to be signed by anyone to play baseball. Sure, he has a bad back and yes, he is never going to lead the league in hitting again. Still, in a world where our choices at second base are Getz, Giavotella, Elliot Johnson and the shell of Miguel Tejada.....oh, nevermind.

Let's have some fun!
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