After five Spring games, the Kansas City Royals are undefeated. They are 4-1-0 with only a ninth inning home run in the opening game having kept them from a perfect record. The will look to extend this on Wednesday in Surprise as they play the Milwaukee Brewers at 2:05 p.m.
The wins an losses (and draws) are not what really matter, of course, in Spring Training. The management will be more keen to see how individuals are getting ready for the long season and how various positional battles are shaping up. It will be the latter that is in focus tomorrow as the first two pitchers scheduled to go for the Royals are Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar. These are the two main contenders (though not, as discussed previously, the only two) for the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation.
There are reasons why Hochevar is, or at least should be, a little bit in front of Chen as the Spring season starts. But he is certainly not so far ahead as to feel comfortable and how the two look tomorrow will be the first indication we get of who will be pitching at the back end of the rotation.
Chen and Hochevar will be the center of attention and will go two innings apiece, but the remaining five innings are not to be ignored. Some of the established members of the bullpen will continue their preparations for the start of the new season. On the batting side, the spring debut of Lorenzo Cain is also expected as well as the return of Alex Gordon. The pair have been suffering from a strained hand and a stiff back, respectively.