And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

31 Comments

Tigers 6, White Sox 5: Detroit continues to be ridiculous. Alex Avila was a hero, tying it up at five with a big fly. Carlos Guillen won it with an RBI single in extras. I know there are people who want to pretend that Justin Verlander is single-handedly carrying the Tigers into the playoffs, but it really ain’t so.  They’ve had so many contribute this seasons, especially in the second half.

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 4: Daniel Bard had a meltdown and the Red Sox lose again.  The tension from up Boston way is palpable.

Orioles 6, Rays 2:  It would be way more palpable if the Rays hadn’t lost a couple in a row to freakin’ Baltimore.

Cardinals 3, Pirates 2; Braves 4, Marlins 1:  Again the Braves and Cardinals stay in lockstep. Advantage: Braves. Pittsburgh clinches its 19th-straight losing season. I know some Pirates fans. Good people. Their plight is evidence that, if God indeed exists, He does not care a lick about professional sports.

Phillies 1, Astros 0: Roy Halladay stifles the Astros as Philly clinches a playoff birth in a two hours, six minute game. Does this put Halladay a step closer to the Cy Young Award? Just watch: Cliff Lee will have a nearly identical start the next time out muddling it all up again.

Angels 4, Athletics 1: Jered Weaver wins his 17th. It took him 115 pitches to do it, however, which is a bit troubling given that Mike Scioscia is thinking about running him out on short rest next time out.

Giants 3, Padres 1: Two homers for Carlos Beltran, giving him 300 for his career. The Giants sweep the Padres.

Royals 7, Twins 3: The Royals have a four-game winning streak on their hands. We’re checking with the judges to see if the fact that multiple wins came against the Twins means that they get to count it as a full four. No, I’m not picking on the Twins unfairly. Luke Hochevar had the freaking flu and he still tamed Minnesota’s bats.

Rangers 9, Indians 1: Josh Hamilton hit a grand slam that gave a bunch of people free carpet and flooring. God, I love America.

Nationals 2, Mets 0: Just looking at the box score, I’m getting the sense that this loss disgusted Mets fans way more than your usual, run-of-the-mill loss. The Mets were eliminated from the postseason, by the way. Not that I think that added to the frustration, what with its inevitability and all.

Reds 7, Cubs 2: Johnny Cueto left early, but the Reds had plenty of firepower to carry through it.  Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run bomb.

Rockies 6, Brewers 2: The Brewers can secure themselves with the knowledge that a team’s record in September does not correlate with playoff success. It’s OK to skid a bit. It’s not ideal, but it’s OK.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 2: Clayton Kershaw had a one-hitter going in the sixth when he was tossed for throwing at Gerardo Parra intentionally even though he said it wasn’t intentional. You know, the Cy Young race is so close between Kershaw, Hallady and Lee, I am inclined to think that a five inning start, however effective it was, is enough to drop Kershaw down a bit.

Mariners 2, Yankees 1: Rodriguez with a walkoff homer lifts the M’s over New York in 12. If that was the story 12 years ago, it would have meant something else entirely. This time: Luis.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
11 Comments

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.