And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Royals 9, Phillies 8: Country. Breakfast. Billy Butler drives in seven via a grand slam and a three-run double. The loss is an especially disheartening one for Philly, as they were staked to a 4-0 lead early with their ace on the hill. Cole Hamels was rocked, though, and now stands at 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA on the young season.

Red Sox 13, Blue Jays 0: Will Middlebrooks went bomb-bomb-bomb. And added a double. The AL East champs, presumptive, are now 2-4. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA. Jon Lester, meanwhile, shut out the Jays for seven innings. It’s gonna be awesome later today when I read all the stories about how character and stuff are the reasons the Red Sox have started out strong rather than getting some nice pitching from now-healthy pitchers.

Braves 5, Cubs 1: Jeff Samardzija struck out 13 Braves but it didn’t really slow ’em down any. And really, if they win five of every six and double the MLB record for team strikeouts in a season I won’t give a tinker’s damn, nor should anyone else. Justin Upton had the golden sombrero, going 0 for 4 with 4Ks. Jeez. Didn’t even hit a home run? Maybe Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson were right about him. Guess he’s totally content to lazily chill his way to a 135 home run season rather than keep up that 162 pace.

Indians 13, Rays 0: Mentioned the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. How about that reigning AL Cy Young Award winner? The Indians rocked David Price like a hurricane, getting eight runs on ten hits off the guy. Carlos Santana went 5 for 5 and drove in three. Mark Reynolds went three for four and drove in four. Meanwhile, seven shutout innings for Justin Masterson. Wait — was this a carbon copy of the Red Sox-Jays game? Is someone printing up duplicates?

Mets 4, Marlins 3: Nice start for rookie Jose Ferdnandez in his MLB debut (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER 8K), but Steve Cishek couldn’t hold it down in the ninth. The Mets won it on a Marlon Byrd RBI single.

Reds 6, Nationals 3: Well, on the bright side, this time Steven Strasburg was allowed to throw more than 80 pitches. The bad news, though, is that he needed 114 pitches just to get through five and a third. Washington looked pretty sweet sweeping the Marlins. In their first action against a major league team, however, they drop two of three.

Yankees 7, Tigers 0: That’s more like it from New York. And from CC Sabathia, who pitched seven scoreless. If they had lost this one it would have been the Yankees’ worst start since 1989. That team had Steve Balboni on it, though, so at least it was fun.

Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 7: Not fun at all: what the Brewers are doing at the moment. In case you missed it, you have to read Matthew’s full write-up of what happened in the late innings of this one. When you call Ryan Braun off the on-deck circle and put Kyle Lohse in to hit for him in extra innings with two men on in a one-run game you are living wrong. You are suffering the consequences of roster malpractice. This is disgraceful.

Twins 4, Orioles 3: Who had the Twins at 4-2 after six games against teams which made the playoffs in 2012? You? Really? Lying like a cheap rug, dude. Meanwhile, the Orioles are now 0-3 in one-run games on the year. Here’s a shoutout to the folks who yelled at the people citing their excellent record in such games last  year as a function of luck, who are now presumably saying that the O’s have just stumbled into some bad luck this week.

Dodgers 6, Pirates 2: Hyun-Jin Ryu got his first big league victory, with a first inning homer to Andrew McCutchen the only blemish. Adrian Gonzalez drove in four. Three game sweep for the Dodgers.

White Sox 4, Mariners 3: Dayan Viciedo hit a walkoff bomb in the tenth. Credit the sweet, sweet, sweet 1983 throwbacks. Probably my favorite (non-traditional) uniform of the double knit-era. Just look at these things. They’re glorious, I tell you. Oh: from the AP game story: Viciedo’s nickname is apparently “Tank.” I was unaware of this. I have a friend whose nickname is Tank. I’ve known a couple other Tanks too. You cannot be a bad person if your nickname is Tank. It’s just impossible.

Rockies 9, Padres 1: Colorado is 5-1, which is what we all expected, obviously. And you’ll be shocked — SHOCKED! — to learn that Edinson Volquez had a rough first inning. It’s so unlike him. Wilin Rosario hit a three-run homer. Dexter Fowler hit a homer in the first after unsuccessfully trying to deke the home plate umpire into thinking he was plunked, only to be called back to the plate. Saved from himself.

Cardinals 14, Giants 3: On the day the Giants wore their purty gold uniforms and got their rings, the team they unseated as defending World Series champs laid a whuppin’ on them. The bad day for aces continued, as Matt Cain was roughed up for nine runs in three and two-thirds.

Athletics 9, Astros 3: Well, not all aces got rocked. Brett Anderson — who was the Opening Day starter, so he could theoretically be an ace I suppose — struck out ten Astros in six innings, allowing two unearned runs.

Rangers 7, Angels 3: Prime time game that, ain’t gonna lie, interested me way less than the “Mad Men” premier. Sorry, dudes. Anyway, Josh Hamilton actually started hitting — he went 3 for 5 — but L.A. didn’t get enough otherwise. Bigger news: both team’s aces — Yu Darvish and Jered Weaver — left early with injuries. Not major ones. Darvish had a recurrence of that blister he first developed last week and Weaver sprained his non-throwing elbow. But not good news for either of them.

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.