Or, as McLain refers to him, “Stephen Strousburg,” but let’s just chalk that up to prison educational programs not being as strong as they should be:
Folks, you never see it coming, it takes one pitch, one bad wind-up, one bad anything, but who the hell can predict that someone is going to get hurt? If I am a fan in Washington, I want my money back if they sit this phenom down for the rest of the year, by the way, if they are afraid of him getting hurt, why pitch him at all? Maybe next year, 5 innings huh?
I’m sort of in an uncomfortable position here in that, very broadly speaking, I agree that Strasburg should pitch more, and I never ever like agreeing with a dude like Denny McLain.
But I’m also of the view that Denny McLain is perhaps the biggest idiot to ever wear a baseball uniform and I find the idea that he makes zero connection between the Tigers pitching him into the damn dirt when he was 20-25 years-old and him breaking down and being washed up at age 26 to be almost too delicious to be true.
Anyway, we have to be near the end of the list people who have an opinion on Strasburg. At least until it comes up in the presidential debates.
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.