No miracle coming for these Angels

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In truth, the ALCS should be over already. While there’s been just the one blowout, the Yankees have outshined the Halos in every aspect of the game through four long nights of baseball.
*The Bombers are hitting .278/.375/.481 with eight homers, while the Angels have struggled to a .201/.273/.329 line.
*The Yankees’ pitching staff has an exceptional 1.032 WHIP, while the Angels are at 1.661.
*With Mark Teixeira hauling in wide throws left and right, the Yankees have committed just three errors to the Angels’ six.
Maybe the baserunning goes to the Angels, if only by default. Both teams have been abysmal, but at least the Angels have been caught stealing just once, while the Yankees have been gunned down three times in five attempts.
The Angels didn’t even seem to make a real effort in Tuesday’s Game 4. Their at-bats are getting worse by the day.
Against CC Sabathia in Game 1, the Angels saw 3.94 pitches per plate appearance. Facing A.J. Burnett and a cast of relievers in Game 2, it was 3.97. In the Game 3 victory, though, it dropped to 3.70. In the Game 4 humiliation, they were all of the way down to 3.45.
For the Angels to win the series now, they’d need to beat A.J. Burnett, Andy Petttite and Sabathia in succession. They have a realistic chance of winning Game 5 with John Lackey on the mound, but it’s doubtful that Sabathia will work again until Game 1 of the World Series. The Yankee bullpen is fully rested after the completely unnecessary off day on Wednesday, and all of the extra time off has given Joe Girardi’s crew a big advantage at the end of games, even if Girardi doesn’t know how to optimize it. At this point, it’s just a matter of whether the Yankees will wrap it up in five or six.

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

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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.