Dan Hayes of the North County Times reports that the Padres are thinking about the place they call home:
Padres interim CEO Tom Garfinkel said the club plans to study what effects reducing Petco Park’s spacious outfield might have on the team’s offense. The Padres could submit plans to Major League Baseball after the season in hopes of turning Petco into a more hitter-friendly park in time for the 2013 season.
Another way to go with this could be to simply schedule more day games in Petco, because the ball flies a lot better then than it does after that heavy marine air seeps in at night. I suppose that’s unpalatable for a lot of reasons, however, given that a lot of people, you know, work during the day.
Whatever the case, Petco is clearly the most extreme pitcher’s park in baseball. But someone has to be, right? I know each club has to do its best to maximize its revenue and to optimize its competitive position, but I really do like having some variance in these things across the league. While, yes, offense is on the decline these days, we still have a lot of hitter friendly parks around and we could use some pitcher friendly ones to balance that out.
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.