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Lopez feels good in fourth spring start

@FlannyMLB
March 15, 2019

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Royals right-hander Jorge Lopez’s line from Friday might not look fantastic -- five-plus innings, two hits, one run, five walks, two strikeouts. But Lopez, who is in line to crack the Royals’ rotation this season, said his stuff reminded him of the night last September when he

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Royals right-hander Jorge Lopez’s line from Friday might not look fantastic -- five-plus innings, two hits, one run, five walks, two strikeouts.

But Lopez, who is in line to crack the Royals’ rotation this season, said his stuff reminded him of the night last September when he almost threw a perfect game.

“When you go to the computer to watch the video, I had a lot of close pitches,” Lopez said. “It reminded me of the day I almost threw a perfect game in Minnesota. My sinker was really big with really good sink today, but just a little off the plate. Sometimes a hitter swings, sometimes they don’t. But it was really good.”

The five walks, Lopez said, didn’t really bother him. The Royals went on to lose, 2-1, to the Rockies.

“Really not, it didn’t,” Lopez said. “I think I just missed a few pitches. I got behind in the count, but I got back in the count. I held the runners and started making pitches. I liked a lot of things today.”

Lopez said manager Ned Yost told him that good pitchers use the elements -- it was a very windy afternoon, with gusts up to 22 mph.

“I heard some jokes that you have to pitch to the elements,” Lopez said. “I knew it would take a lot of pop to get one out today, so you just throw fastballs down the middle.”

Zimmer spot on again
Right-hander Kyle Zimmer continued to impress, throwing another scoreless inning. He hasn’t been scored on his six outings. His fastball touched 97 mph Friday.

"I felt good,” Zimmer said. “I thought the ball was coming out well. Got to mix in all three pitches for strikes today, which was great. Been wanting to get my changeup in a little bit more, and I worked that in for a swing, a foul tip. Fastball command felt good, curveball command felt good. Changeup felt good, so I was happy with it.

"It's always great to have good results. I'm obviously competing for a job so results do matter for me. I'm more so focused on just repeating my mechanics, bouncing back.”

Up next
The Royals will play split-squad games on Saturday. In Surprise at 3:05 p.m. CT, Homer Bailey is scheduled to start against the Brewers, followed by Jake Diekman, Wily Peralta, Brad Boxberger, Michael Ynoa and Kevin McCarthy.

In Peoria at 3:10 p.m. CT, Heath Fillmyer will start against the Padres followed by Richard Lovelady, Glenn Sparkman and Scott Barlow.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.