And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 4, Twins 3: The Yankees got a solid six innings from Ivan Nova and then went Joba-Soriano-Mo for the seventh, eighth and ninth. Since this is obviously a strength of the team and will become a recurring pattern, I’m going to preempt all of the cheeseball broadcasters and columnists who like to apply nicknames to would-be teams of destiny or, at the very least, their component parts: the back end of the Yankees bullpen is JoSoMo. You can put the inflection wherever you want. It doesn’t matter, because the point is to create something catchy enough to stick but lame enough to where everyone will feel a little bit dumb repeating it.  Say it with me: JOsomo. Or joSOmo.  Whatever. I really don’t care!

Braves 2, Brewers 1: One of those days where both of the starters — Brandon Beachy and Chris Narveson — deserved to win, but the difference makers in this one were the pens. Takashi Saito served up gopher balls to Martin Prado and Dan Uggla while Peter Moylan, Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel shut down the Brew Crew in the seventh, eighth and ninth. Kimbrel was particularly impressive, striking out the side to close it out with sick, knee-high mid-to-upper 90s heat.  If he has banished the control problems he had in the minors, forget about it National League. And, what the hell, let’s try it: MoyVenKim. Er, well, maybe not. Sounds like something you don’t want to order at the non-specific Asian restaurant in the strip mall next to the check cashing place that puts out the “under new management” sign every eight months. Or, if you change the inflection a bit, it could be a Yiddish word my Aunt Ruth used to say all the time to refer to minorities in a derogatory fashion while in polite company. (“I’m telling you dahlink, that moyvenkim down at the oriental place really messed up my order of Moy-Ven-Kim yesterday. Just inedible. And such small portions!”)

Orioles 5, Tigers 1: Break up the O’s! Baltimore wins again, moving to 4-0 on the season, which is their best start in 14 years. Once again young pitching comes through, with Jake Arrieta giving up one run over six innings. On offense the big shot came on a Brian Roberts three-run bomb off Rick Porcello who at one time, I assure you, was thought of as the Next Big Thing even if he hasn’t looked it for a while.

Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 1:  Damp, chilly and windy conditions led to a ghost town in Wrigley. Indeed, there may have been more seagulls swarming the field than there were fans in the stands. No matter, though, as Alfonso Soriano had a homer and an RBI single and Randy Wells, while a bit wild at times, was able to shut the Diamondbacks down after a leadoff homer. A leadoff homer to Willie Bloomquist, I should note, which would automatically count as seven runs against the pitcher who surrendered it if I were in charge of baseball, but sadly, I am not.

Pirates 4, Cardinals 3: Charlie Morton was arguably baseball’s worst starter last season. Last night: one run on three hits in six innings. He also walked five, but who’s counting? Oh, Major League Baseball, its member clubs, several statistics organizations and every fan who was keeping score during the game? Well, fine, but he got away with it. All of the Buccos’ runs came in the sixth via a Neil Walker double and an Andrew McCutcheon homer.

Rangers 6, Mariners 4: The Rangers remain perfect. Nelson Cruz has homered in all four games this season. If he keeps that up, man, it will be like a record or something.

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.