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.
When he’s not throwing baseballs, Twins pitcher Trevor May is an active gamer. He streams on Twitch, a very popular video game streaming site, fairly regularly and now he’s officially on an eSports team. Luminosity Gaming announced the organization added May last Friday. It appears he’ll be streaming and commentating on Overwatch, a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Blizzard Entertainment.
May is the only current athlete to be an active member of an eSports team. Former NBA player Rick Fox owns Echo Fox, an eSports team that sports players in games including League of Legends, Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Street Fighter V, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Mortal Kombat X. Jazz forward Gordon Hayward is also a known advocate of eSports.
The NBA in particular has been very active on the eSports front. Kings co-owners Andy Miller and Mark Mastrov launched NRG eSports in November 2015. Shortly thereafter, Grizzlies co-owner Stephen Kaplan invested in the Immortals eSports team. Almost a year later, the 76ers acquired controlling stakes in Team Dignitas and Team Apex. The same month, the Wizards’ and Warriors’ owners launched a group called Axiomatic, which purchased a controlling stake in Team Liquid, a long-time Starcraft: Brood War website which has since branched out into other games. And also in September 2016, Celtics forward Jonas Jerebko bought team Renegades, moving them to a group house in Detroit. In December 2016, the Bucks submitted a deal to Riot Games in order to purchase Cloud9’s Challenger league spot for $2.5 million. The Rockets that month hired someone specifically for eSports development, focusing on strategy and investment. Last month, the Heat acquired a controlling stake in team Misfits.
Once an afterthought, eSports has grown considerably in recent years and now it should be considered a competitor to traditional sports. League of Legends, in particular, is quite popular, reaching nearly 15 million concurrent viewers at its peak in the most recent League of Legends World Championship. That championship featured a prize purse of $6.7 million with $2 million of it being split among winner SK Telecom T1’s members.
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.