Indians' Josh Tomlin just the latest to shut down Yanks in debut

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I haven’t done the research, but it’s always seemed to me that patient offenses struggle when facing a pitcher they’ve never seen before. It’s a small sample size for sure, but for what it’s worth, the Yankees have been pretty miserable in facing pitchers making their major league debuts.
That’s not how it should work, right? The Yankees’ lineup has been loaded for 15 years now, and pitchers making their debuts can be overwhelmed by the experience. However, the 11 pitchers since 2000 to make their major league debuts in starts against the Yankees are 7-3. Seven of the pitchers allowed zero or one earned runs and only one allowed more than three. Here’s the list:
Paul Rigdon (Indians, 2000) – 7 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 K – Indians win 6-1
John Parrish (Orioles, 2000) – 7 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 9 K – Yankees win 4-3
Brian Sikorski (Rangers, 2000) – 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 5 K – Rangers win 5-0
Jake Peavy (Padres, 2002) – 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4 K – Yankees win 1-0
Eduardo Villacis (Royals, 2004) – 3 1/3 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 0 K – Yankees win 12-4
Gustavo Chacin (Blue Jays, 2004) – 7 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 2 K – Blue Jays win 6-3
Anibal Sanchez (Marlins, 2006) – 5 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 7 H, 2 K – Marlins win 5-0
Daryl Thompson (Reds, 2008) – 5 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 2 K – Reds win 6-0 (no-decision)
Koji Uehara (Orioles, 2009) – 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 0 K – Orioles win 7-5
Jake Arrieta (Orioles, 2010) – 6 IP, 3 ER, 4 H, 6 K – Orioles win 4-3
Josh Tomlin (Indians, 2010) – 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 2 K – Indians win 4-1
Outside of Peavy, it’s not exactly the most illustrious group. Sanchez is the only other pitcher to have a prolonged career as a major league starter, though Arrieta should as well. Villacis, the lone pitcher to struggle, was a bizarre callup in the first place and he never made another appearance in the majors.
Tomlin was a surprise choice to get the ball for the Indians. A 19th-round pick in 2006, he had a record of 51-24 in the minors, with a 3.20 ERA in 87 starts and 57 relief appearances, but he was never taken very seriously as a prospect because he doesn’t throw hard. Next time the Yankees see him — if he does in fact stick around that long — the Yankees could well have his measure and knock him around. However, with nothing but some printouts and maybe some grainy video to go on, they couldn’t do much of anything against him tonight.

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.