The Moose Was Loose In Mesa – Royals 5, Cubs 3

Spring Training Game Three – Cubs 3, Royals 5

WP – Wade Davis (1-0) LP – Edwin Jackson (0-1) Save – Michael Mariot (1)

On a chilly day in front of a Cactus League record crowd of 14,680, Mike Moustakas hit a pair of home runs and drove in three of the Royals’ five runs as the Cubs dropped to 0-3 in exhibition play.

Starlin Castro left the game in the second inning after taking his position in the field. Wade Davis hit Castro in the first inning on a 1-1 pitch and Castro tried to swipe second on a 1-0 offering to Anthony Rizzo. Castro was thrown out and appeared to have injured himself on the headfirst slide into second. Castro took himself out of the game and was replaced by Javier Baez before a pitch was thrown in the second inning.

Starlin Castro has a tight right hamstring and is listed as day to day. Castro downplayed the injury after the game and said it was not as serious as the hamstring injury he suffered early in the spring games a year ago.

Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva saw their first action of the spring Sunday with basically the same results.

Jackson was sharp in the first inning, hit his spots and allowed only one hit to the four batters he faced. In his second inning of work, Jackson struggled with his command. Early in the inning he was missing up and in, later in the inning he was missing down and away. Mike Moustakas hit the first of his two home runs, a no doubter to right off Jackson in the first inning. Jackson allowed one run on three hits with no walks, a hit batsman and three strikeouts on 41 pitches, 26 for strikes, in two innings.

Carlos Villanueva served up Moustakas’ second blast of the day with one on in the third and gave up another run in the fourth inning. Villanueva allowed three runs on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts on 40 pitches, 27 for strikes, in two innings.

Dallas Beeler, Neil Ramirez, Armando Rivero and Yoanner Negrin made their first appearances of the spring with mixed results.

The Cubs offense managed three runs on eight hits Sunday afternoon. Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a double and a RBI) doubled in Donnie Murphy (1-for-3 with a run scored) with the Cubs’ first run in the fifth inning. Javier Baez (2-for-3 with a double and a run scored) doubled and scored on an Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2 with a double, a walk, a run scored and a RBI) double in the sixth. Rizzo scored on a Justin Ruggiano (2-for-3 with a RBI) single after the Royals threw the ball around the play before.

Kris Bryant (0-for-1), Jorge Soler (0-for-1), Brett Jackson (0-for-1) and Christian Villanueva (0-for-1) received a plate appearance on Sunday.

There was a lot of swings and misses on Sunday … Cubs pitching struck out 10 batters and the Royals’ staff struck out nine Cubs.

The Cubs played a better game Sunday but in the end the pitching staff could not cool off Mike Moustakas.

Scoring Plays

Mike Moustakas led off the second inning with a towering homer to right on a 2-2 pitch from Edwin Jackson. With the Royals up 1-0, Jackson struck out Carlos Peguero swinging before he gave up a single to left (2-1 pitch) to Lorenzo Cain. Jackson plunked Brett Hayes on his hands (2-2 pitch) and put runners on first and second with one down. Pedro Ciriaco struck out swinging (3-2 pitch) and Norichika Aoki lined out to Ruggiano in left to end the second inning.

Carlos Villanueva took over in the third and struck out Danny Valencia swinging (2-2 pitch) to start the inning. Eric Hosmer followed with a double (0-1 pitch) into the left field corner. Villanueva struck out Justin Maxwell swinging (3-2 pitch) before Mike Moustakas lifted a 3-2 pitch into the berm in right … 3-0 Royals. Peguero popped out to Baez near the second base bag to end the inning.

The Royals made it 4-0 in the fourth after Cain led off the inning with a single to center off Baez’s glove. Hayes flied out to left center. Pedro Ciriaco poked a 1-2 pitch down the left field line that hit the chalk and went for a double. With runners on second and third with one down, Aoki lifted a 0-1 pitch into left. Cain tagged and scored … 4-0 Royals. Villanueva caught Valencia looking at a 0-2 pitch to end the inning.

The Royals tacked onto their lead in the fifth against Dallas Beeler. Eric Hosmer blooped a 3-2 pitch into left for a single. Maxwell grounded out to third, Hosmer advanced to second and held when Moustakas grounded out to short. Carlos Peguero ripped Beeler’s first pitch into right. Hosmer scored, 5-0 Royals. Cain rolled into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The Cubs got on the board in the fifth against John Lamb. Donnie Murphy reached on a two-out single to left, the Cubs’ third hit of the game. Darwin Barney pulled a 1-2 pitch into left. Murphy scored on Barney’s double, 5-1 Royals. Emilio Bonifacio lined out to second to end the inning … Bonifacio shattered his bat and the barrel ended up where the Cubs’ coaches were sitting during the game.

Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo put a couple of runs on the board against Jon Rauch in the sixth. Baez led off the inning with a ground rule double to right center. Baez crushed Rauch’s first pitch, the ball hit the track and bounced over the wall. Rizzo followed with a bloop double (1-2 pitch) down the left field line. Baez had to hold at first then scored once the ball hit the grass and the shortstop kicked the ball. The Royals tossed the ball around the infield and Rizzo ended up at third. Justin Ruggiano ripped a 1-1 pitch back up the middle and into center. Rizzo scored, 5-3 Royals.

Pitching

Edwin Jackson was sharp in the first inning. Jackson had good life on his fastball and good movement on his slider. Jackson gave up a hit in the first, but that was all on 13 pitches, 10 for strikes. Jackson struggled with his command in the second inning. Jackson missed up and in early in the inning, then down and out as the inning progressed. Jackson gave up the home run to Moustakas and it took him 28 pitches, 16 for strikes, to complete the inning.

Carlos Villanueva’s command was fine, he was catching too much of the plate and could not put hitters away. Villanueva threw 26 pitches, 15 for strikes, in the third inning and 14 more (12 strikes) in the fourth inning.

Dallas Beeler pitched the fifth and sixth innings. Beeler gave up a run in the fifth on 17 pitches, 11 for strikes, before he settled down. Beeler completed a 1-2-3 sixth inning on 10 pitches, eight for strikes.

Neil Ramirez set down the side in order in the seventh. Ramirez looked good and appeared to be throwing free and easy. Ramirez needed 16 pitches, nine for strikes, to complete his inning of work.

Armando Rivero has a big arm and he looked good for the most part on Sunday. Rivero threw 17 pitches, nine for strikes, in the eighth inning.

And Yoanner Negrin, up for the day from minor league camp, was impressive in the ninth. Negrin retired three of the four batters he faced and was greeted with a handshake from Chris Bosio when he left the field.

Observations from the Park

Darwin Barney and Kris Bryant loosened up together for the second time in three spring games. Albert Almora joined Bryant and Barney on Sunday.

Eric Hinske is very active in the dugout and is constantly talking to the players.

Dale Sveum appeared very friendly with several of the Cubs’ coaches (Chris Bosio, Brandon Hyde) and many of his ex-players.

Armando Rivero throws very hard. The mitt makes the right kind of pop when his fastball hits it. Rivero has a good delivery, rather smooth, but had trouble repeating it Sunday.

Javier Baez has a very strong arm and the bat speed is off the charts. It will be interesting to see how he translates defensively when he moves from shortstop to either second or third base.

The video board in left field at Cubs Park is a nice touch with a lot of information during the games.

The Cubs play two games Monday … one that counts as a Cactus League game and one that doesn’t. The Cubs will host the Giants in a ‘B’ game on Monday morning that begins at 11:00am CST (10:00am MST). Jason Hammel will pitch in the ‘B-squad’ contest. The Cubs make the long trip to Maryvale for the regularly scheduled exhibition game. Eric Jokish will make his first start of the spring and the Brewers will send Marco Estrada to the hill.

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver