This is one of those deals in which the headline pretty much says it all:
Dickey, a Twins reliever in 2009 who now is a top starting pitcher for the Mets, is organizing a group that will set off from Africa in January to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Slowey has agreed to join the excursion, which will help raise money for a charity called the Bombay Teen Challenge, a group fighting against sexual trafficking in Mumbai, India.
“R.A. and I have gotten to gotten to be good friends,” Slowey said. “This is something that if you get the chance to go do, you’d be remiss not to consider it. And it’s definitely for a great cause.”
Some Mets staffers — including the bullpen catcher, so be careful if he’s leading the way — will join them. I hope one of them is a trainer. I’d hate it if Dickey or Slowey got an infection after being stuck by a thorn and lied there dying, wondering whether they truly pitched enough to call themselves pitchers.
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.