Settling the Scores: Saturday’s results

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Miguel Cabrera hit two homers last night. But not just any homers. Homers out to center at Comerica Park, officially tallied at 466 and 444 feet. That’s some mileage. Well, 0.17 of a mile, but that’s still a lot of distance. Both were needed too, as it was a tight game throughout, with Detroit beating the Yankees 4-3.

And how about that Jose Valverde? He came in to lock down a one-run lead in the ninth and hit the first batter, allowed his pinch runner to steal, walked the next guy, allowed a double steal to put runners on second and third, hit another batter to load ’em up, then walked another guy to blow the lead. Thanks to the Tigers rallying in the ninth, however, he was credited with the W.

Dude just knows how to win, doesn’t he?

Tigers 4, Yankees 3
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 4
Nationals 2, Braves 0
Marlins 5, Phillies 4
Athletics 9, Royals 3
Mets 5, Cardinals 0
Mariners 10, White Sox 8
Dodgers 6, Rockies 2
Orioles 2, Rays 1
Brewers 5, Pirates 1
Twins 7, Indians 4
Reds 12, Astros 9
Angels 3, Rangers 2
Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2
Giants 2, Cubs 1

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.