And That Happened: Tuesday's Scores and Highlights

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Johnny Cueto.jpgReds 9, Pirates 0: Johnny Cueto tosses a one-hitter. He was one single and one HBP away from a perfect game, but the fact that he hit the same guy who got the single — Ronny Cedeno — probably made him feel better.

Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1: Who are you, Mr. hard-throwing, efficient pitcher, and what have you done with Daisuke Matsuzaka?! (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9K, 106 pitches).

Mariners 5, Orioles 1: More controversy: Larry LaRue reports that Don Wakumatsu wanted to use Mike Sweeney to pinch hit in the seventh inning, but he was found raging in the clubhouse.

Marlins 3, Cubs 2: The Cubs have now lost four in a row and seven of eight. Another error for Starlin Castro.

Mets 8, Nationals 6: The Nats had a 6-2 lead entering the eighth when the wheels fell off thanks to the bullpen. Newly called-up Chris Carter hit a clutch two-run double for the Mets and David Wright and Jason Bay each had three hits. Ike Davis had another one of those pretty swell catches in which he leans over the dugout railing. Frankly, I’m beginning to think that he’s just showing off. Kind of like Ric Flair doing that little flip up and over the turnbuckle thing. Except Davis sells his move better.

White Sox 5, Twins 2: The Sox did all of their damage in the fifth inning. And hey, look who got the save! Why, it’s Bobby Jenks, who was supposed to have been demoted or forgotten about or whatever. Just the latest example of one of baseball’s most important maxims: don’t ever listen to what Ozzie Guillen says unless he’s just sort of pontificating about stuff that doesn’t relate directly to him in which case you really should listen because that dude is totally raw and totally hilarious, brother.

Indians 8, Royals 2: Two homers for Russell Branyan. Trey Hillman was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a play at third, thereby requiring him to retire to the clubhouse and watch the remainder of the game on a video monitor. Hey Trey: get used to watching Royals games on TV.

Astros 6, Cardinals 3: Jason Motte is like an offensive lineman in that you only notice him when he screws up. We all remember that blowski against the Reds back on April 8th because it was, like, the only day game everyone was paying attention to that afternoon. We recognize this performance — homers given up to both Berkman and Pence — because it was also notably awful. We missed the mostly admirable work he did in between, however. Motte had gotten his ERA down to 1.69 as recently as a week ago. He got lit up last night. It happens.

Braves 11, Brewers 3: Troy Glaus and Eric Hinske each had three RBI and the Braves had their first laugher of a win all season. Dave Bush wasn’t horrible for the Brewers, but the pen was.

Athletics 7, Rangers 6: Daric Barton homered in the 11th and hit the winning RBI single in the 13th, as the A’s win a wild one. Andrew Bailey and Neftali Feliz blew saves. Pinch runners were thrown out at the plate, Eric Chavez hit a homer. Really, nothing in this game was particularly ordinary.

Rays 7, Angels 2: Scott Kazmir is Tampa Bay’s career leader in wins, starts, innings, and
strikeouts. He faced the Rays for the first time last night and they made it clear to him that he is of a different era in team history (5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 2K.)

Dodgers 13, Diamondbacks 3: Lots of runs and stuff for L.A., but the thing that jumps out at me the most is the fact that Dan Haren had ten strikeouts in six and a third innings, but also gave up ten hits. there’s a combination you don’t see every day.

Padres 3, Giants 2: Barry Zito was lost, walking seven guys and giving up six hits. It’s a wonder the Padres didn’t score more off him.

Phillies vs. Rockies: Half a mile from the county fair and the rain keep pourin down.

Yankees vs. Tigers: Oh, the water. Hope it don’t rain all day.

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.