Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has a story this morning, the upshot of which is that everyone on the Red Sox is concerned about who leaked the stuff to Jeff Passan for his explosive report the other day:
“It’s a shame that someone would do that and spread wrong information,” Valentine said. “It hurts our team. If you really care about our team, why would you do something like that, no matter what your agenda is?”
Said a prominent Red Sox player, “If I knew it was one of my teammates, we’d have a big problem. A big problem.
“We’re supposed to be together. We’re supposed to be in this together. To spread gossip like that about important players on this team who have been falsely accused is just horrible. That person should be ashamed of himself.”
Others, like David Ortiz, talk about how it can’t possibly be a player who talked and suggest, again sort of obliquely, that the story is baloney.
Thing is, the stuff that was leaked — stuff about player problems with Valentine, comments Valentine made during the game in the dugout and things of that nature — almost certainly did come from a player. No one else was in a position to know and talk about such things.
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.