Pirates: you know I got your back. You know that, like everyone else who isn’t a Cardinals fan, I’m rooting for you to beat the Cardinals. I think the odds are long that you will, but I’d love to see it. But we do have a problem.
You gotta cut this out:
The black solids are for spring training and batting practice. Not for a team that wants to look like it belongs. You look good in white. You look good in gray. You look extra-good in those sweet 70s throwbacks you wear on Sundays. But his black top with white/gray pants thing is an abomination.
And don’t get too smug, you other teams. The same goes for every one of you wearing these solid jerseys as opposed to white and gray. Braves blue, Rays blue, forget it. I suppose the A’s can wear their gold because the A’s have always been like that weird sibling you simply can’t reason with so we’ve stopped trying, but the rest of you need to cut it out.
It’s the playoffs. It’s the fancy dinner of the baseball season. Try to look your best. Right now you look like the USFL or something.
And yes, get off my lawn.
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.