After watching Ricky Romero go 0-12 with a 7.98 ERA in his previous 13 starts the Blue Jays mercifully decided to skip his turn in the rotation last week, giving the former All-Star a much-needed break.
Unfortunately it didn’t do much good.
Romero rejoined the rotation last night against the Mariners and failed to make it out of the fifth inning, allowing four runs on eight hits and four walks while recording just 12 outs.
With the loss he dropped to 8-14 with a 5.87 ERA overall, including 0-13 with a 7.91 ERA, .325 opponents’ batting average, and more walks (48) than strikeouts (44) in 72 innings spread over his last 14 starts. And remember, this is a 27-year-old pitcher who signed a $30 million contract extension after throwing 225 innings with a 2.92 ERA last season.
Romero has given up trying to explain his struggles, basically throwing his hands up when talking ro reporters after each terrible start, but manager John Farrell continues to insist that the Blue Jays will not shut him down. At this point I’m not sure if that’s showing confidence in Romero or some form of punishment.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.