The Indians suffered their first spring training loss today, falling to the Royals 4-1 in Goodyear this afternoon. It was just one of those days where not much happened offensively, and a couple of the pitchers happened to struggle. No potential starters pitched for the Tribe today; they used bullpen guys and some non-roster invitees. I think it’s always a good idea to use bullpen guys early in spring training games. That way, they have a chance to face major league hitters before they leave the game for the day. If you wait until the fifth or sixth inning to use them, they’ll probably end up facing minor leaguers or invitees not likely to make the team.
The lone run for the Indians came from non-roster invitee outfielder Matt Carson, who homered for the second straight day. Several other Indians got one hit a piece – Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Cord Phelps, and Mark Reynolds – and that was it for the Tribe’s offense today. Giovanni Soto, the minor league pitcher who opened the Indians’ first spring training game last Friday, had another rough day – he lasted just 2/3 of an inning, allowing 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. He’ll soon be leaving camp to join the Puerto Rican team with Mike Aviles in order to compete in the World Baseball Classic. Two of the other pitchers to appear today were Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw, both acquired in the trade this winter with the Diamondbacks and Reds. Albers gave up 1 earned run on 2 hits and 1 walk, while Shaw surrendered 1 earned run on 1 hit and 1 walk. Chris Perez, Scott Barnes, Preston Guilmet, Edward Paredes, Jerry Gil, and Joe Martinez all held the Royals scoreless.
In a blast from the not too distant past, Dan Wheeler closed out the game for the Royals. I thought this was a chance for the Indians to come storming back, but Wheeler made it out of the inning unscathed, despite surrendering a double to Cord Phelps. He also struck out two.
In other notes:
– Michael Brantley is expected to miss about 10 days with his lacerated arm. The injury required 15 stitches.
– Terry Francona announced that Justin Masterson will be the Opening Day pitcher on April 2 in Toronto. I don’t think anyone was really surprised by this, despite the fact that 2012 was an off year for him. It’s not like they were going to select Ubaldo Jimenez, or the newly-signed Brett Myers over Masterson.
– Yesterday, Indians single-game tickets went on sale to the general public. I personally think that it’s kind of insane they put them on sale this late; it seems like it would make more sense to do it before the holidays. I know that I always get my dad tickets to Opening Day for Christmas, and this year I was forced to write “Opening Day tickets” on a piece of paper so I at least had something to stick in a card. It wasn’t the first time I was forced to do this, but it’s always better to put an actual ticket. Anyway, despite the late on-sale date, single game ticket sales are up 40% from last year and are nearly double the totals from 2011.
The Indians face the Mariners in Goodyear tomorrow at 3:05 ET.