Carlos Silva refused to speak to the media following Wednesday’s dugout altercation with teammate Aramis Ramirez, but attempted to explain himself to reporters today.
Silva told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he was unaware the Cubs had made nine errors in their first three spring training games, so when he returned to the dugout and said they needed to “start making plays” following Ramirez’s error the third baseman “took it personally.”
In spring training, it’s a little harder because we don’t watch every single game. I didn’t even know my team had made that many errors either. That was a very hard inning, not only for my team or for my coaches, but for me. I was trying to do something here, and I gave up those two homers, and I came to the dugout, I tried to take it easy, to relax, to let it go.
The only thing I said was “we have to start making plays here.” He took it personally. I know it was my mistake. It was my fault because you don’t say anything. But he took it personally and that’s what happened. We argued in the dugout, and everything stayed there.
Silva also explained that his having to compete for a spot in the Cubs’ rotation had him on edge after the “absolutely brutal outing.” Manager Mike Quade doesn’t seem to think the incident was a big deal and Silva seems to be handling it pretty well after the fact, so assuming Ramirez isn’t holding a grudge Carlos Zambrano can reclaim his status as the most likely Cub to throw a punch in the dugout.
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.