Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero blows a gum balloon during practice at their spring training facility in Dunedin

Ricky Romero calls out Blue Jays’ offense for lack of support


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.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.