Hong-Chih Kuo missed time in 2009 with the dreaded “yips” and was on the disabled list earlier this season with “anxiety issues,” both of which make his inability to throw strikes last night doubly worrisome for the Dodgers.
When healthy and on top of his game Kuo is among the elite, most dominating relievers in baseball, but yesterday he threw just five of 17 pitches for strikes, walked two of the four batters he faced, uncorked a wild pitch, and coughed up three runs while recording one out.
However, when asked by Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times if he was concerned about the outing, Kuo replied:
I walked a couple guys, I feel good. I just didn’t have command today. I feel bad I didn’t get guys out, but I go out there and I feel good.
I might be inclined to agree with Kuo, except his lack of command wasn’t just a one-game thing. Combined during his last four appearances Kuo has walked seven of 15 batters while giving up six runs and recording five total outs. He also has 15 walks in 16 innings overall this season after walking just 18 batters in 60 innings last year. Either he’s hurt or something simply isn’t right.
The Rays acquired right-handed reliever Sergio Romo from the Dodgers, the teams announced Saturday night. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash hinted that the team was in on Romo during the offseason, but couldn’t quite make a deal happen at the time. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Thursday and will net the club cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Romo, 34, struggled to find his footing in his first season with the Dodgers. He left a closing role in San Francisco to play set-up man to established closer Kenley Jansen, and saw mixed results on the mound with a 6.12 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 through his first 25 innings of 2017. It’s a far cry from the sub-3.00 ERA he maintained in 2015 and 2016, but the Rays don’t seem to have ruled out a second-half surge just yet.
The veteran right-hander is expected to step into a bullpen that already boasts a solid core of right-handed relievers, including Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley and Tommy Hunter. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rays were intrigued by Romo’s extensive postseason experience, affordability and hefty strikeout rate, but will likely continue to hunt for additional bullpen depth in the weeks to come.
Astros’ third baseman Colin Moran was carted off the field on Saturday night after a foul ball caught him in the left eye. He was forced to leave in the sixth inning when a pitch from Orioles’ right-handed reliever Darren O'Day ricocheted off the handle of his bat and struck him in the face, causing considerable bleeding and bruising around his eye. The full extent of his injury has yet to be reported by the team.
Prior to the injury, Moran was 1-for-2 with a base hit in the third inning. He was relieved by pinch-hitter/third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who polished off the end of the at-bat by catapulting a three-run homer onto Eutaw Street.
Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran combined for another two runs in the ninth inning, bringing the Astros to a four-run lead as they look toward their 65th win of the season. They currently lead the Orioles 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth.