So Ricky Romero is apparently in manager John Farrell’s doghouse . If so, I say the team needs more “dogs”…and fewer guys just doggin’ it.
Romero, of course, spoke out of frustration to the media on Monday night after losing to Atlanta (or more aptly, to Tim Hudson who not only did most of the work shutting out the Jays 2-0 but also drove in the runs with a home run), in some eyes casting doubts on the efforts and/or abilities of his teammates.
“All I can do is just pitch,” Romero was quoted as saying in the Toronto star and other media sources. “I can”t worry about the offence and what they do… we can’t rely on Bautista and we can’t rely on Lind. We’ve got to get somebody else to step up or else we’re not going to be winning ballgames. This team doesn’t revolve around one or two guys. Everyone’s got to put in their parts.”
He also added :”I’m sure those guys are not trying to get out. They’re all trying. I’m not singling anyone out or anything like that. Like I said, those guys (Bautista and Lind) are going to get pitched around, so hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
Pretty innocuous stuff, actually understating the depth of the problem that is Blue jays offence of late. But it was enough to step on some toes apparently, and have Ricky called up on the carpet by Farrell, and persuaded to apologize (even if in not so many words) to the rest of the team the next day.
Farrell went into excuse spin mode , saying how great all the pitching the Jays had seen of late had been… according to Farrell, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Boston, even Kansas City, it doesn’t matter. They’re all somehow channeling Cy Young and being an impossible task for his hitters to overcome.
Well, the precise wording of Romero’s statement might not have been ideal: out of context it could sound like he was blaming Bautista and Lind rather than pointing out that they couldn’t do everything every single night, which was obviously his point. But that point aside I think Romero’s comments were right on and he shouldn’t have backed down from them. So too did Jose Bautista, who told the Toronto star today “he was speaking the truth and he’s totally right….I didn’t take any offence on it.” So why did Farrell?
Well perhaps because he doesn’t like to look in the mirror and ask why a supposedly talented bunch of hitters has managed all of ten runs in six games on the road against NL teams this time around. Why Corey Patterson, Jayson Nix, JP Arencibia and Rajai Davis are all in horrendous, multi-week slumps and have seen their averages shrink precipitously. Can Dwayne Murphy no longer do his job, or are these guys just not listening? Or, failing that, are they all profoundly lacking in talent, in which case one would have to wonder about the skills of his boss, Alex Anthopolous and of the restrengthened scouting staff that reports to him. Or could it be he just doesn’t have the skills to make a lineup card properly, or motivate a team of guys who are looking more and more lazy? I’m sure he doesn’t like contemplating any of the above, so better just to chastise Ricky for pointing out the obvious and pretend that Tim Hudson (losing record, ERA over 4 before seeing Toronto), Luke Hochevar and Mike Leake are Sandy Koufaxes-crossed with Nolan Ryans.
Of course, this should help him fare well in Toronto. It is a city of sports excuses and apologists. When the Leafs lose, and miss the playoffs as they inevitably do, the pundits blame the schedule-makers (too many roadgames, too many miles etc, despite the obvious equal number of road games for every team), the referees (biased against the leafs), and injuries. When the Jays lose, the tV sportscasters agree with Farrell’s comments and add in their own gems, like Buck Martinez’s observation that the jays seem to play too many day games and that messes up pitchers’ internal clocks. Why it doesn’t do the same to opposition pitchers or opposing hitters for that matter, he didn’t explain.
I for one like that Romero spoke out, and think he could have gone further. Call Corey Patterson out for bunting the team out of innings far too often. Call Rajai Davis out for being a supposed high-average contact hitter who’s hitting well below .200 in the past month and swinging at anything tossed his way. The jays, right or wrong, have given Romero the contract and the stature as the ‘ace” pitcher and the co-leader of the team, along with Jose B. As a leader, part of the role demands speaking up and not accepting half-hearted efforts or even decent efforts which never result in positive results.
By the way, after the apology of sorts from Romero, the team managed two runs over the following two games. One by a Bautista homer.
Further to some of my recent comments on Interleague ball, has anyone else been noticing some of the attendances for games this week? 21 000 and change in Washington last night to see their red-hot Nationals take on Seattle. 14 265 in KC on Wednesday to welcome the Diamondbacks. Even the hot rivalry between the Astros and Rangers garnered only 39 708 on thursday, leaving a full 10 000 empty seats in Arlington. Time to rethink the nature, and extent , of Interleague play, Mr Selig.