What we're watching: Halos, Bombers collide

Leave a comment

– The teams with the two best records in baseball are set to play tonight, as the Angels travel to Yankee Stadium for a makeup game. Jered Weaver, who is 15-5 with 3.76 ERA, will be opposed by three-inning starter Joba Chamberlain. The Angels currently trail the Yankees by five games as the two vie for home-field advantage throughout the postseason, but it’s just four in the loss column and the two teams do play three more times in Anaheim next week. The Angels are 4-2 versus the Bombers this season.
– Scott Feldman aims for an eighth straight win as the Rangers take on the A’s. He’s allowed just one run over 26 1/3 innings in his last four starts, taking his ERA from 4.06 to 3.46. That he’ll finish outside of the top 10 and perhaps out of the top 20 in the AL in innings pitched should rule him out as a legitimate Cy Young contender, but he’s as responsible as anyone for the Rangers’ current placement in the standings.
Game of the Night
Colorado vs. San Francisco – After picking up a game Sunday, the Giants are back to within 4 1/2 games of the Rockies in the wild card. Still, it would seem that they pretty much have to win two of three games as the teams play for the final time this year this week in San Francisco. This is the most favorable matchup for the series for the Giants, as Tim Lincecum will be returning tonight after missing one start due to back spasms. Rockies starter Jason Hammel, though, has a 2.65 ERA in three outings against the Giants this year and is 6-4 with a 2.93 ERA outside of Coors Field.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
10 Comments

The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.