What's that, you say? Rain in Arizona; you cannot be serious.
Well, it was imminent all day, but it didn't come to Phoenix's Northwest Valley in time to save the Indians long journey up Bullard Avenue to Surprise. In terms of "B" teams, this was as literal as it gets, with no regular players on Friday's travel roster, other than Joe Smith and Drew Stubbs.
Stubbs was worth the price of admission, leading off the game with a home run, then doubling and scoring on a Ben Francisco sacrifice fly in the third inning, right before the game was called. Stubbs notched his first stolen base of the spring with a great jump on Ned Yost's southpaw starter Noel Arguelles. Yan Gomes was at the plate with a 1-0 count, and Ryan Raburn, who was walked by Ryan Verdugo, on second base when the tarp came out. Raburn took second base on the throw, and he'll be back there if they resume and Francona hasn't already put him on a bus back to Goodyear.
"If anything good today happened," Terry Francona stated about Stubbs, "it was coming over to see him take those two swings, because those were beautiful."
Corey Kluber got the start for Francona. Alex Gordon got Kluber off on the wrong foot, by hitting a double to right center field to start the home half of the first inning, with the Royals already trailing 1-0. Gordon stole third base and scored the Royals first run of the day on David Lough's sacrifice fly; Gordon easily beat Tim Fedroff's throw from the left field.
Kluber's second inning didn't start off much better, with single by Xavier Nady, a non-roster invitee of the Royals. After a Johnny Giavotella ground out, Nady came home on a double by catcher Brett Hayes. Things got ugly on Matt Carson's errant throw, and Hayes took 3rd as the Indians tried to recover ball near the 3rd base on-deck circle. He was slated to throw four innings today, but only got in two; he finished his day throwing in the cages (about 65 pitches), which Francona stated was not ideal, "but under the circumstances, that's the best we can do."
"(Kluber was) a little bit deliberate. Today was a little bit of a teaching day," Francona said after Friday's abbreviated action, "we showed up and didn't look like we were totally ready to play."
Hayes was erased when Cord Phelps came home with the throw on a ground ball to second by Jarrod Dyson. Hayes missed the plate, but catcher Yan Gomes missed the tag, but was able to stay with an elusive Hayes to put the tag on his counterpart about 6 feet behind the dish. Dyson was running in his cameo appearance this afternoon. He stole both second and third base, scoring on Yan Gomes throwing erro that skipped away from Ryan Raburn covering at third.
If the game would have resumed, Francona had Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, Joe Martinez, and Danny Salazar at his disposal. For Ned Yost, Ryan Verdugo didn't throw many pitches, but John Lamb Justin Marks, Yordano Ventura, and Sugar Ray Marimon were expected to throw for the Royals on Friday.
Update 5:07 PM: Friday's game has been canceled. It is not expected to be re-scheduled.
The game was called at 3:00 PM (AZ time) after a 1 hour and 9 minute rain delay. Because five innings were not completed, all of Friday's statistics will be washed out, and will not count in the record books. They are going to play a "B" game tomorrow.
The Indians will play tomorrow in Mesa against the Cubs; first pitch is at 3:05 ET/1:05 AZ. Francona will start David Huff on the bump. For the Cubs, it will be Brooks Raley.