Blue Jays hammer Royals' 'B' squad, 12-2
MAY 31, 2014 4:47p ET
This would be acceptable.
If it was March.
And this one indeed had all the markings of a bad spring training game: The Royals started a rookie pitcher, and followed him with another rookie pitcher, neither of whom figure into the Royals' plans in 2014.
Oh, and throw in a classic spring "B" lineup as manager Ned Yost needed to rest center fielder Lorenzo Cain, catcher Sal Perez and second baseman Omar Infante.
The result was virtually predictable -- a blowout 12-2 loss at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The shame of it, of course, is that the Royals had just started to gain a little traction after winning the first two games of the series in impressive fashion.
Well, flush that momentum. Now the Royals will try to pull themselves back up again against an old nemesis -- left-hander Mark Buehrle on Sunday.
-- Alex is zoned in. Remember when Alex Gordon started off last season simply carrying the team? Well, that ended in late May. But Gordon again seems to be locked in and has raised his average over .280. Gordon, who homered Friday night, roped a double Saturday.
-- Good for Hayes. Catcher Brett Hayes, who got his first hit of the season Wednesday after starting out 0 for 27, singled in the Royals' first run Saturday. Nice to see Hayes get more confident, which might allow Yost to give Perez more rest as the season wears on.
-- It's only one loss. As bad as it was, the blowout loss counts as only one defeat. And it might serve the Royals well to treat it like a spring training loss -- like it doesn't matter. Go ahead and laugh it off. And then get back at it Sunday with the same thought process they had Thursday and Friday.
-- Brooks is overmatched. Rookie Aaron Brooks got his first major-league start in place of Yordano Ventura, who was resting his sore elbow. As far as how Brooks' day went, Marty Schottenheimer had a saying about such situations: The moment was too big for him. Brooks looked hurried and terrified from the first batter on. The first eight hitters reached before he even got an out. By then, the game was over.
How bad was it? He walked three, hit two batters, gave up five hits and allowed seven runs. Keep in mind that Brooks is known for his pinpoint control -- he walked just eight hitters this year in 40 innings at Omaha. Last season, he walked just 22 in 160 innings.
-- Next rookie up. Right-hander Michael Mariot wasn't much better, though thankfully he did chew up some innings by going 3 1/3. But Mariot gave up four more runs and six hits. Any notion the Royals had of miraculously coming back in this one were squelched when Mariot gave up three more runs in the fourth to make it 11-1.
-- Esky in the No. 2 spot. OK, this had nothing to do with Saturday's loss, but with the "B" lineup in, Yost decided to go with shortstop Alcides Escobar in the No. 2 spot, where Esky simply doesn't succeed. Coming into the game, Esky was hitting .167 with a .194 on-base percentage in the two slot. He went 0 for 5 Saturday. Last year, when Yost tried to force him there, he hit .240 with a .274 on-base percentage. Esky hits best in the No. 9 spot -- .271/.300/.372 over his career.
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at email@example.com.