Ricky Romero finally created some reason for optimism on August 28 when he tossed seven innings of two-run ball against the Yankees, striking out six and walking two in what was arguably his best start since April.
And then yesterday he threw away whatever progress he’d made and then some by failing to make it out of the second inning against the Rays while coughing up seven runs.
The loss left Romero with a 5.85 ERA in 28 starts, which includes nearly as many walks (90) as strikeouts (110) in 163 innings and is a far cry from the often-dominant lefty who posted a 2.92 ERA last season.
In his last 13 outings Romero is 0-12 with a 7.98 ERA and yesterday the home crowd in Toronto booed him off the field, yet manager John Farrell continues to insist that the Blue Jays have no plans to shut him down.
After the game, Romero told reporters: “Going through something like this I’d never wish upon anyone.”
We welcomed “Mason Saunders” into our lives on Sunday, thanks to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan. Mason Saunders is the alias of Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner when he competes in rodeos, something he’s done as recently as December (when he was still a free agent).
Given that one of Bumgarner’s other extracurricular activities, riding dirt bikes, resulted in a serious injury, many have been wondering how the Diamondbacks would react to the news that the lefty they inked to a five-year contract two months ago is roping steers in his spare time. It seems like the Diamondbacks just accept that that’s who Bumgarner is.
On Tuesday, Baggarly and Buchanan answered some frequently asked questions about the whole Bumgarner-rodeo thing. They mentioned that former Giants manager Bruce Bochy, in a radio interview on KNBR, slipped in that Bumgarner also hunts bears in his off-time. Bochy said, “You think, ‘Madison, you’re looking at signing your biggest contract ever to set yourself up for life and you’re going to risk it on the rodeo?’ But he’s got confidence. I mean there’s some stories I do know that he probably wouldn’t want me to share, with him bear hunting, and the tight situations he’s gotten himself into.”
As Baggarly and Buchanan explained, when Bumgarner — I mean, Saunders — is roping steers, he’s not taking much of a risk. They wrote, “The header and heeler don’t chase the steer around the ring. Each trial is more or less a one-shot deal and it’s over in less than 10 seconds. If the header or heeler misses on the first attempt, then no time is recorded.” Bumgarner has also said he ropes with his non-pitching hand. Hunting bears is an entirely different level of risk, one would imagine. That being said, no one seemed to be surprised that Bumgarner moonlights as a serious rodeo competitor. That’s likely also the case that he, as Bochy puts it, goes “mano a mano” against bears.