According to Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com, Athletics manager Bob Melvin confirmed this evening that Drew Pomeranz will called up from Triple-A Sacramento to start Wednesday against the Astros. The change lines up Sonny Gray, Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija to start in a big four-game series against the Angels later this week.
Pomeranz began this season in the A’s bullpen, but moved into the rotation in May and posted an impressive 1.88 ERA over his first seven starts. However, he was rocked for eight runs (seven earned) over 3 2/3 innings on June 16 before punching a chair in frustration and breaking his right hand. He has pitched exclusively in Triple-A since returning to full health, putting up a 3.69 ERA and 54/17 K/BB ratio in 46 1/3 innings over eight starts.
This is just a one-start deal for now, but if Jason Hammel struggles tomorrow and Pomeranz pitches well on Wednesday, one wonders if Melvin could consider a change for September.
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.