Ricky Romero tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Braves last night, but got stuck with a loss because the Blue Jays were shut out by Tim Hudson and Craig Kimbrel, managing just two singles and one walk while striking out 11 times.
Pitching well and getting zero run support has been the story of the season for Romero, who has a 6-7 record despite a 2.98 ERA, .230 opponents’ batting average, and 91/36 K/BB ratio in 103 innings spread over 15 starts.
In his seven losses the lineup has scored a total of 13 runs and his frustration finally boiled over last night, as Romero called out the offense:
All I can do is just pitch. I can’t worry about the offence and what they do. I’ve always said this at one point we can’t rely on Bautista, we can’t rely on Lind. We’ve got to get somebody else to step up and get on base and drive them in. These guys are getting pitched around. Everyone’s got to step it up or else we’re not going to be winning ballgames. This team doesn’t revolve around one or two guys. Everyone’s got to put in their parts. That’s how we win ballgames.
Everyone knows. I’m sure those guys are not trying to get out. They’re all trying. I’m not singling anyone out or anything like that. We’re all trying. At one point we have to do the small things and we have to continue to get on base. Like I said, those guys are going to get pitched around, so hopefuly we’ll be able to do that.
I sympathize with Romero, particularly since pitchers are still evaluated based on their win-loss records far too often and he deserves much better than 6-7. On the other hand, as he even points out it’s not as if the Blue Jays’ hitters are trying to do poorly and I’m not sure how calling them out publicly will help matters anyway.
Plus, the lineup has actually provided plenty of run support to everyone but Romero, scoring an average of 3.5 runs per game in his starts compared to 4.9 runs per game in everyone else’s starts. Overall the Blue Jays rank fourth among AL teams in runs, so offense hasn’t been the problem. Offense when their best pitcher is on the mound has been the issue and that’s more about randomness and matchups than effort or ability.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.