Yesterday I put up a short post about the plans in Japan to build a Yu Darvish museum. In it I made a few jokes playing off the idea that Darvish, for all of his success in Japan, has yet to create a museum-worthy track record in the United States, so it may be amusing to Americans to hear about a museum actually being built for him. I likened it to a Tuffy Rhodes or Warren Cromartie museum, two players who also saw much greater success in NPB than in the U.S.
That apparently didn’t play too well in Japan. Patrick Newman of NPB tracker forwards me an article from Sanspo, a daily Japanese sports newspaper, with the headline “Harsh words for the Darvish Museum.” Google translate does pretty poorly with Japanese, it seems, but the best I can tell is that the writer is mad at me for what directly translates to “dry coverage,” which I’m going to guess is something close to sarcasm or snark or something. There is a reference at the end to “yakkamu,” which seems to mean jealousy. Perhaps the writer is saying I’m jealous? I’m not really sure.
Sorry folks, didn’t mean to be harsh. I like Darvish. I think he’s a swell pitcher and I do appreciate how good he was in Japan. I’m simply going to take some amusement at the idea of a museum being built for someone who is only 26 no matter who he is or where he gained his fame.
And no, there is no way I’m getting into an Internet fight across languages. Even my trolling and snarking has its limits.
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.