After noting that the Mets, if healthy, will have a lot of guys with some power, Bob Klapisch offers a suggestion:
The Mets don’t appear to be close to any significant upgrades in their starting rotation, so if they want to improve their
run-differential why not maximize their HR quotient by reconfiguring
the ballpark? Doing so would ensure that Bay remains a 30-homer threat, and more importantly, would give Wright a much-needed helping hand . . .
. . . Will it happen? It’s not impossible. Officials plan to see how Bay and
Wright fare in 2010 before bringing in the fences. Wright, in
particular, will be watched closely: With Bay hitting behind him, he’ll
get better pitches to hit and should return to his 33-home run form in
This seems way, way, way premature to me. As has been noted by many, you can’t get a good read on how a park plays after only one season. It usually takes three years for people who care about things like park factors to get reliable data.
As Klapisch notes, David Wright only hit five homers on the road, and that suggests that it wasn’t just architecture that led to his power outage. Even if the park caused Wright to do silly things, isn’t it worth trying to fix Wright’s swing before calling in the contractors.
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.