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Thursday's Cactus League sees the Indians and Royals squaring off yet again

Nick Maronde is on the mound for his first-ever start in a Tribe uniform.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals @ Cleveland Indians

Thursday, March 12, 2015 @ 4:05 ET

TV: STO and



The Tribe hasn't been faring too well in terms of the actual business of winning meaningless baseball games lately, but I don't care because ... Brandon Moss.

Today's game represents the first time that the Indians and Royals have met since ...  last Friday (yes, I did have to look it up, since all ST games have long since begun to merge into one in my head). Having given Ventura a good seeing-to,  the Tribe were coasting along with a 5-2 lead until Shaw and Armstrong combined to give up eight runs (only three of which were earned) in the 5th and they eventually fell to a 11-9 defeat.

It was actually Corey Kluber's turn to pitch today, but (according to Jordan Bastian) he was instead scheduled to pitch 4 innings in a simulated game this morning, with Scrabble and Crockett pitching an inning each.

Interestingly, Nick Maronde gets first dibs on the mound instead, representing the 8th different SP used in 10 ST games. The Tribe experimented by converting Maronde back to a starter after they acquired him off waivers from the Angels last summer, with mixed results in six starts spread across three levels.

Maronde did pitch well in 2 innings on his ST debut last week, but on Monday he came in during the 9th in a tied game against Seattle and couldn't get the job done. But still a line of 2.1 IP/1 H/1 BB/2 K is something to build on and today's outing is a good barometer for him. I don't expect that he will go more than three innings, with Shaw, Downs, Swarzak, Brewer, Lee and Manship all lined up as relievers.

Here's the batting order:
1. Bourn (CF)
2. Ramirez (SS)
3. Raburn (RF)
4. Santana (1B)
5. Aviles (LF) (3B)
6. Walters (2B)
7. Aguilar (DH)
8. Urshela (3B) Holt (LF)
9. Perez (C)

(Before Urshela was a late scratch with a tight lower back) if you were to swap Bourn for Holt, Ramirez for Lindor and Santana for Sands this would basically be the Tribe's "B-team" right now. Aviles and Perez are obviously guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster, but for Raburn, Walters, Aguilar and Urshela today's game presents a good opportunity to strengthen their places in the pecking order.

Enjoy the game...