Andy Pettitte has given up ten runs in his last two outings but, despite this, he has declared himself ready for real live major league baseball:
“I’m going to let them let everybody know what we’ve got going on,” Pettitte said. “I feel like I’m ready, and I think they’re ready for me to come up.”
He brushed off all of those runs as just getting his work in. Which, to be fair to him, is something we allow guys in spring training and these past few starts have been spring training for him. Meanwhile, the guys he has been facing have been treating it like their season, which is what it is. Which isn’t to say that it’s a great thing that Pettitte has been getting lit up. But it may not be totally predictive of what he’ll do once he joins the Yankees.
It’ll be interesting to hear today what Brian Cashman thinks. And where Pettitte will fill in in the rotation. If you assume that he is going to replace David Phelps, his first start could be a week from today in Baltimore, which would be the next time Phelps’ turn comes up while Pettitte is on full rest.
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.