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Game Preview/Thread #-4: Brewers (10-17) v Royals (23-6)

Last call from Maryvale.

Rob Tringali

Fun fact: The Royals finished the 1989 season with a 92-70 record. Best as I can tell, they haven't been more than 17 games above .500 at any point in the regular season since. They're 17 games over .500 this spring, though.

One of the reasons the Royals have been so good this spring is pitcher Luis Mendoza (0.82 ERA this spring, 4.23/4.28 ERA/FIP in 2012), who the Brewers will face today. He's making his fourth appearance of the spring and his first since March 17, when he allowed four hits but pitched five scoreless innings against the White Sox.

2012 was Mendoza's sixth season in the majors but his first full campaign, and he posted a 4.23 ERA over 30 appearances (25 starts). FanGraphs credits him with a low-90's fastball, curve which he'll throw consistently and an occasional changeup.

Mendoza was very good in his lone start against the Brewers a year ago, holding them to just one run on one hit over six innings while walking two and striking out four on June 12. The Royals went on to win that game, 2-1.

Mendoza will face fellow Mexican Yovani Gallardo (4.50 ERA this spring, 3.66/3.94 ERA/FIP in 2012), making his final spring appearance before getting the ball on Opening Day on Monday. Gallardo looked good against the Cubs on Friday, allowing a single unearned run on four hits over 5.1 innings. The two walks he allowed in that game were the only free passes he's allowed this spring.

If Gallardo can carry his spring walk rate over into the regular season, it'd be a pretty great development for his career. He walked 3.6 batters per nine innings a year ago, compared to 1.3 over four appearances this spring. He's only carried a walk rate under 3 through a regular season one time, in 2011 when he posted a career-low 3.52 ERA and worked a career-high 207.1 innings.

Gallardo did not face the Royals last season, and hasn't seen them in a regular season game since 2007.

You can probably copy today's lineup and paste it in for Opening Day:

Norichika Aoki RF
Rickie Weeks 2B
Ryan Braun LF
Aramis Ramirez 3B
Jonathan Lucroy C
Alex Gonzalez 1B
Carlos Gomez CF
Jean Segura SS
Yovani Gallardo P

It's hot in Arizona today, with a game time temperature in the mid 80's. The weather shouldn't be a factor, though, as there's no precipitation in the forecast and the winds aren't very strong.

Enjoy the game!