Jake Peavy: pressure got to the White Sox last year

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Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com spoke with Jake Peavy, who said something you rarely hear ballplayers say: pressure got to the White Sox last year:

“I think you saw that when things got on the line and we were the team to beat there, being in first place down the stretch and that pressure, you feel the immaturity as a club as a whole. I’m not just saying the young guys. I’m talking about myself, the Adam Dunn’s, the Paul Konerko’s. That’s our job to keep everyone calm and keep us holding on.”

Normally you hear guys say that they simply didn’t make plays, it is what it is, the other guys got hot, etc.  Interesting and unusual to hear Peavy be so frank as to say “hey, we couldn’t handle the pressure.”

Peavy goes on to talk about other stuff, including how he was convinced that 2012 was going to be his last season in the bigs. That, of course, was the feeling before the season, which saw Peavy make a welcome and somewhat unexpected return to form.

Good interview. Check it out.

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.