Ricky Romero finally created some reason for optimism on August 28 when he tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Yankees, striking out six and walking two in what was arguably his best start since April.
And then yesterday he threw away whatever progress he’d made and then some by failing to make it out of the second inning against the Rays while coughing up seven runs.
The loss left Romero with a 5.85 ERA in 28 starts, which includes nearly as many walks (90) as strikeouts (110) in 163 innings and is a far cry from the often-dominant lefty who posted a 2.92 ERA last season.
In his last 13 outings Romero is 0-12 with a 7.98 ERA and yesterday the home crowd in Toronto booed him off the field, yet manager John Farrell continues to insist that the Blue Jays have no plans to shut him down.
After the game, Romero told reporters: “Going through something like this I’d never wish upon anyone.”
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.