And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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White Sox 6, Tigers 1: The offense continues to snooze. And the Tigers are getting so little respect that some clever wags out there are calling them the “Kittens.” That’s just sad, dude. Alex Rios and Gordon Beckham did most of the damage for the Sox.

Phillies 3, Marlins 1: Fifth straight for Philly, as Phillies-fan commenters slowly creep back into HBT comment sections after a season of mostly silence. Hey, that’s what hope does for you I guess. Welcome back, fellas. Just don’t pretend that you didn’t check out for five months is all I’m asking.

Nationals 5, Mets 1: Gio Gonzalez notched his 19th win — walked five, but the Mets couldn’t capitalize — and Ryan Zimmerman, Kurt Suzuki and Ian Desmond all hit homers. Bryce Harper also broke his belt in the middle of the game while diving for a ball in the outfield. I’m assuming this is symbolism of some sort. Maybe a harbinger. Perhaps a metaphor? Eh, that English minor was obtained over 17 years ago. I’m fuzzy.

Twins 7, Indians 2: First line of the AP recap:

Samuel Deduno struck out six in seven innings and Pedro Florimon made two stellar defensive plays . . .

I refuse to believe those are real people. Sorry. Just not buying it.  Viva September baseball for non-contenders.

Brewers 4, Braves 1: When you have a couple of teams surging meeting each other it tends to be a Thunderdome series: two men enter, one man leaves. The Braves played the roll of Master Blaster here. That is, if walking four dudes in the seventh inning to help throw gas on the fire was what Master Blaster did.

Padres 11, Cardinals 3: For the Dodgers, Pirates, Phillies and the Brewers — or anyone else with pretensions of snagging that second wild card slot that looks vulnerable at the moment — the Cardinals are being quite accommodating. San Diego unloaded an industrial sized can of Whoop-Ass that someone found in the basement of the Western Metal Supply Company, exploding for 11 runs on 17 hits.  Cameron Maybin hit a two-run homer, Will Venable had three RBI. The Cards have lost four of five and now hold a one game lead for the last playoff spot.

Rockies 6, Giants 5: Rockies pitcher Alex White, of all people, homered off Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong’s recent nightmare stretch continues. I don’t want to spoil it for you if, later on, you plan on seeing this one at the theater, but Vogelsong says it’s because he’s “just not making pitches.” Didn’t see that coming.

Cubs 4, Astros 1: Dave Sappelt — another fictitious guy who I think some wiseacre inserted into the box score — scored on a wild pitch. The Cubs quest to not lose 100 gets a boost.

Athletics 3, Angels 1: The A’s are supposed to be crumbling now because of injuries, a tougher late-season schedule and lots of road games. Not happening yet. Jarrod Parker tossed seven innings of three-hit ball.

Reds 4, Pirates 3: Fourteen innings, won by Ryan Ludwick with an infield single. That’s four straight losses for the Buccos and — get this — 21 of 30.  And if you think that’s ugly, get a load of this.

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.