Spring Training


Saturday, March 26
Los Angeles 10 at Kansas City 5
Surprise Stadium, Surprise
Temp: 91 at 6:05 first pitch

Four Dodger Dingers Rock Royals

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Royals had twice as many hits as the Dodgers — 10 to 5 — but trailed by twice as many runs, 9-4. Such is the succinct shock and awe of watching three-run home runs disappear into the night. Justin Turner turned the trick after Brady Singer walked Chris Taylor and Max Muncy in the first. Tomas Telis did the deed in the eighth after Brad Peacock hit Zach McKinstry and walked Andy Burns. Telis’ clothes-line blast to right left the yard faster than a Telus text. Toss in Kevin Pillar’s two-run bomb in the sixth and Jake Lamb’s solo shot in the ninth and it was bombs away for the Dodgers after the Royals had regrouped from Turner’s opening salvo to tie the game 3-3 after three. They got there with Carlos Santana smashing a two-out double to left to cash in Bobby Witt Jr. and Andrew Benitendi. Witt had singled and stole second before Benitendi drew a walk. Whit Merrifield opened the scoring in the first with a triple to the right corner. Fantasy baseballers take note, Merrifield was cool and dried at third before the throw reached the infield. Another 40-SB year seems like a cinch. He came home on a wild pitch.

Ballpark Buzz … The white elephant in the winning L.A clubhouse was, “What is wrong with Cody?” He sported the golden sombrero tonight with four strikeouts. Since his third-inning single March 24 against Colorado, Bellinger has struck out. Eight. Consecutive. At. Bats. Dodger hitting coaches Brant Brown and Robert Van Scoyoc won’t sleep a wink tonight. … Evidently Banner Medical Center didn’t get the memo, a.k.a. last week’s column. Tonight their non-baseball trivia question asked how many mammograms they’ve performed the past year. 9000-plus, if you’re keeping score at home. I’m sure the mothers in attendance just loved responding to their children asking, “Mommy, what’s a mammogram?” …

My Fantasy Baseball strategy … If ya need it, as spring training is already winding down. From the six spot, I’ve been pretty consistent — after 50+ mock drafts from multiple spots — of drafting the following 22 starters when (sigh) Ohtani doesn’t fall into my lap. Round-by-Round: 1–Bichette (SS) / 2–Scherzer (SP) / 3–Urias (SP) / 4–O’Neil (OF) / 5–Peralta (SP) / 6–Bryant (1B) / 7–Chisholm (2B) / 8–Manoah (SP) / 9–Jansen (RP) / 10–Romano (RP) / 11–Av. Garcia (OF) / 12–Ad. Garcia (OF) / 13–Donaldson (3B) / 14–McGee (RP) / 15–Voit (CI) / 16–Baddoo (OF) / 17–Desclafani (SP) / 18–Bader (OF) / 19–O. Cruz (MI) / 20–Kiner-Falefa (UT)

Note the emphasis on team power and speed with an unabashed prayer for batting average. There’s little or no speed with corner infielders so I targeted Bryant because he can swipe a few and now has HR-friendly Coors Field. Others I have targeted are Albies, O’Neil and Chisholm. The rest will arrive on your doorstep. How? Pick 4 starting pitchers and 4 hitters in the first 8 Rounds, targeting the above. Use the dead space between hitter to drop down and grab The Starting Pitcher You Really, Truly Love. Forget the waiver wire, this is a six-month commitment. Use the 9th and 10th Round to take two relievers. Your 11th, 12th and 13th Rounds go to collecting Av. Garcia, Ad. Garcia and Donaldson respectively. Rounds 11-thru-13 run like clockwork. McGee is listed as the Giants’ closer but for some reason he’s ranked 300+ at Fantrax. Dig him up. If he’s scooped, Rogers or Bednar should be available. Rounds 15-to-19 can be a bit of a white knuckler, because some joker may take a flyer on Oneil Cruz out of the blue. I’m drafting him 30 or 40 spots higher because when at the 200+ ADP, be safe, not sorry. Also, I drafted catcher Luis Torrens in the 30th round (last) to clear up space for other picks. Catchers don’t run but he did poke 15 over the fence last year. The above road map has the necessary built-in deviations so you can breathe easy during the 45-seconds between picks. Good luck, managers!