You figure it was only a matter of time before a guy the media loves to hate — Josh Beckett — met the biggest hater in L.A. in T.J. Simers. And they did last night after Beckett’s rough outing against the Rockies. Rob Bradford of WEEI has a transcript of their back and forth in the clubhouse after the game.
All in all I think Beckett handled himself well. Simers was obviously trying to get a rise out of him and it doesn’t seem like he was able to. The way you do poorly with Simers is to take his bait or to change your answer when he pulls his little word-parsing “but you’re not answering my question, I asked …” schtick. Beckett didn’t do that.
Now it’s possible that Beckett didn’t take that bait because really doesn’t give a crap and never felt like his pride was on the line. Right or wrong, that was one of the biggest criticisms lodged at him in Boston.
Maybe that trait makes him Simers-proof. Maybe they’ll make beautiful music together.
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.